Summer is a wonderful time for outdoor activities with family and friends. For many people, a day at the beach, on the boat, or at a backyard barbecue will include drinking alcoholic beverages. But excessive drinking and summer activities don’t mix. Drinking impairs both physical and mental abilities, and it also decreases inhibitions—which can lead to tragic consequences on the water, on the road, and in the great outdoors. In fact, research shows that up to 70 percent of all water recreation deaths of teens and adults involve the use of alcohol.
Swimmers can get in over their heads. Alcohol impairs judgment and increases risk taking, a dangerous combination for swimmers. Even experienced swimmers may venture out farther than they should and not be able to make it back to shore, or they may not notice how chilled they’re getting and develop hypothermia. Surfers could become over-confident and try to ride a wave beyond their abilities. Even around a pool, too much alcohol can have deadly consequences. Inebriated divers may collide with the diving board, or dive where the water is too shallow.
Boaters can lose their bearings. According to research funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol may be involved in 60 percent of boating fatalities, including falling overboard. And a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.1 percent (approximately 4 to 5 drinks) is 16 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than an operator with zero BAC. According to the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time. It can also increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. And if problems arise, intoxicated boaters are ill equipped to find solutions. For passengers, intoxication can lead to slips on deck, falls overboard, or accidents at the dock.
Drivers can go off course. The summer holidays are some of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. When on vacation, drivers may be traveling an unfamiliar route or hauling a boat or camper, with the distraction of pets and children in the car. Adding alcohol to the mix puts the lives of the driver and everyone in the car, as well as other people on the road, at risk.
Stay hydrated and stay healthy. Whether you’re on the road or in the great outdoors, heat plus alcohol can equal trouble. Hot summer days cause fluid loss through perspiration, while alcohol causes fluid loss through increased urination. Together, they can quickly lead to dehydration or heat stroke. But this doesn’t have to happen. At parties, make at least every other drink a nonalcoholic one. If you’re the host, be sure to provide plenty of cold, refreshing nonalcoholic drinks to keep your guests well hydrated. Make sure that underage drinkers do not make it on to your guest list.
Summer will end, but consequences can endure. You can have fun in the sun and still be safe. Avoiding beverages that cause mental and physical impairment while piloting a boat, driving a car, exploring the wilderness, and swimming or surfing is a good place to start. Be smart this summer—think before you drink, and make sure that you and your loved ones will be around to enjoy many summers to come.
For more information on how to encourage drug-free behaviors and guide good choices, visit our website at www.sabineprevents.com. (Source: NIH)
Hello, and welcome to the Sabine Prevention Alliance (SPA) website blog. Each month we will be sharing data driven information about local and national trends related to our target concern which is underage drinking in Sabine Parish. Sabine was selected this year to receive support to develop prevention efforts to keep out children and youth safe, sober and successful.
The Alliance is comprised of a group of concerned citizens, coming from various communities and sectors in our parish such as the school system, health care, law enforcement, business, faith-based and community organizations, parents and youth. We are new, don’t have all the answers but lots of questions and we need your help.
The Mission of the SPA is to plan and implement strategies that prevent and reduce underage drinking and its consequences, targeting children and youth ages 9 to 20 through community and parish-wide prevention efforts. SPA’s Vision is to become a community that empowers children and youth to reach their full potential through education, coordination of resources and support. You have found our website and I invite you to look around.
There are three different blog posts on this site; one for Community Partners, one for Parents and one for Children and Youth. Feel free to join us in a conversation about your concerns, experience, strength and hope for the future as we get to know each other better on-line and in the flesh. Thank for your interest, care and concern for our children and youth. If you would like to take part in this work, contact SPA by email; SPAWagley@gmail.com, go to our Facebook/sabinepreventionalliance , Instagram sabine prevention alliance or call 318-315-0081. James Wagley, SPA Coalition Coordinator 8/7/19