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Holiday celebrations, binge drinking and OUI

Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season. People all over the country are anticipating the upcoming celebrations, especially those around Christmas and New Year’s.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officers all over the country prepare for the increase in drunk drivers on highways and byways. The holidays bring out binge drinkers every year.

Temptations abound

It is difficult not to celebrate when everything from lamp posts and shop windows to residential front yards get all dressed up for the holidays. Holiday parties of all kinds bring the temptation to consume alcoholic beverages; even moderate drinkers are apt to imbibe more than they normally do, and the pleasant buzz they are used to can become a state of intoxication. People who binge drink, consuming four or more alcoholic drinks in a short period, pose a danger to everyone, including themselves, especially if they decide to get behind the wheel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking too much alcohol too quickly can result in alcohol poisoning as well as a variety of chronic conditions.

How it begins

Binge drinkers start to come out for the holidays beginning on “Blackout Wednesday,” the day before Thanksgiving. It is actually a night of revelry because of the long holiday weekend to come. From this point forward, through New Year’s Day, there will be celebrations of all kinds: office parties, residential cocktail parties, campus parties and more. Keep in mind that the increase in alcohol consumption is not confined to cheerful party goers. Many people who struggle with loneliness and stress turn to alcohol to help them get through the holidays.

What to do

Whether light of heart or fighting feelings of loneliness and depression, you can curb holiday season binge drinking simply by limiting your alcoholic intake to one drink per hour and drinking a lot of water in between. As to the idea of getting behind the wheel, either abstain from drinking, call a cab or engage the services of a sober designated driver. Remember that incidents of OUI and alcohol-related vehicle crashes increase dramatically between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, and you do not want an arrest to ruin your holiday celebration.

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