New Year’s Celebrations
More people are likely to drink beyond their limits during this season than at other times of the year. Some of them will suffer consequences that range from fights to falls to traffic crashes or death.
Last December, 733 people died in drunk driving crashes. Be aware that drunk driving crashes claim a victim who was not a drunk driver every two and a half hours.
For many, this is the time of year filled with socializing and parties, culminating in an end of year blowout. Seen as an expected rite of passage by most young adults, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is eventually outgrown with the reality of family and mortgages. For others, a lifetime of dealing with the effects of alcohol abuse is just beginning and may end tragically.
Be aware that mixed drinks at private parties may be stronger than expected. Oversized glasses may actually be equal to two or three servings of alcohol. In addition, specialty drinks can be deceiving, tasting so good or exotic that drinking too many too quick can happen easily.
Consider these facts:
The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013 was nearly 4 times higher at night than during the day (35% versus 9%); 15 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were alcohol-impaired, compared to 30 percent on weekends. There were 10,076 alcohol-impaired crash fatalities in 2013, accounting for 31% of the overall fatalities.
Alcohol abuse poses many threats to health and general wellbeing. In fact, alcoholism increases the risk for so many diseases that scientists believe they have not even pinpointed all of the health issues that alcohol either causes or exacerbates. Research suggests that chronic alcohol abuse will lower a person’s life expectancy by as many as twelve years.
Maybe the best way to be healthy is not to overindulge during New Year’s Eve. Consider too backing off from the party celebrations. Have an evening with friends or family beginning with a shared dinner and a movie, then finishing with a specialty drink with dessert. There are some excellent drinks made with sparkling water and juice that do not call for alcohol. Hot apple cider or hot chocolate are popular choices along with fancy coffee concoctions.
Drinking is not necessary to have fun or to celebrate. Why not do something unique or create a new tradition. Have a good New Year by staying safe and healthy. Do not drink and drive.