Talking with friends or loved ones about being more careful when they drink alcohol can feel uncomfortable. But for thousands of Americans who die from alcohol poisoning every year or are killed by a drunk driver on New Year’s Eve, one uncomfortable conversation could have made the difference between life or death. Here’s how you can broach the subject with friends, children, siblings or parents, and help them stay safe and healthy as they welcome 2017.
Your loved one may brush off your concerns about their drinking on New Year’s Eve by blaming the holiday itself. In fact, the accepted social norm that people will drink alcohol to excess on New Year’s Eve makes it even more dangerous for the casual user. It is never a good idea to drink more than one alcoholic beverage in an hour, no matter what day it is. Don’t let the holiday obscure the difference between healthy, controlled use of alcohol with life-threatening, blackout abuse.
Still, some people might laugh off the threat. Because it’s so common for people to drink alcohol, your loved one might dismiss your concerns for their health and safety as unfounded. But while there’s plenty of evidence showing how dangerous and pervasive opioid abuse is, alcohol is overwhelmingly more lethal than opioids, killing over 30,000 more people every year than the notorious class of prescription drugs. Alcohol abuse is no joke, but rather an insidious behavior capable of ending your life and the lives of others in just night or one bad decision.
Even people accustomed to drinking often can easily get burned on New Year’s Eve. Caught up preparing for the night, it’s easy for people to forget to eat a full meal and drink plenty of water to help negate the effects of excessive drinking, setting your body up for failure. Alcohol poisoning really can happen to anyone who doesn’t take care of their body or respect their physical limits.
Remind your loved one that other people will be affected by their decisions. If they insist on drinking to excess, make sure they understand that other people at their party will likely want to match their pace regardless of their own tolerance. Other family members including younger siblings or children will also be influenced by a family member’s reckless drinking and receive the tacit message that excessive drinking is tolerated. If you have to make the conversation about being a good role model for peers or younger relatives, don’t hesitate to go there. You may end up saving more than one life.
Make sure you take a moment to talk with your loved ones about responsible alcohol use this New Year’s Eve. Your conversation about alcohol use may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will show your child, relative or close friend that you really care. Alcohol poisoning is deadly and can happen to anyone at anytime. Make sure your loved ones know you’ll need them in 2017 and every year to come.