Making smart choices | NevadaAppeal.com

Making smart choices

by Erica Walent and
Adam Ramsey
Stand Tall Club seniors at Carson High School

The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just during the month of December 2004, some 1,210 people across America, were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration, BAC, of 1 percent or higher.

Of those, 1,054 had an illegal BAC of 8 percent or above. In Nevada, 49 percent of motor vehicle fatalities involved alcohol whereas the national average was 40 percent in 2003.

Among a four-year period from 2000 to 2003, Carson and Lyon counties had higher portions of alcohol-related deaths, 16 percent and 12.3 percent per 100,000 respectively, than compared to the state average of 9.4 percent (Nevada State Health Division, Health Planning Statistics).

That’s why the Carson High School Stand Tall Don’t Fall club is encouraging everyone to “Give the Gift of a Lift” this holiday season, and check to make sure no one gets behind the wheel while impaired. You don’t have to be drunk to affect the lives of others and many don’t realize the consequences. Impaired driving is no accident – nor is it a victimless crime. It is one of America’s deadliest problems.

This time of year always brings holiday parties which are socially fun; however, always designate a sober driver before the party begins. Remember, friends don’t let friends drive drunk so “Give the Gift of a Lift.” This should be a decision that people make without having to think twice.

Impaired driving: you drink and drive, you lose

by Heath Medeiros

Stand Tall Club junior

Impaired driving is one of America’s most often committed and deadliest crimes. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than twice as many people are likely to die in alcohol-related traffic crashes on New Year’s Eve than on non-holiday winter evenings.

On New Year’s Eve 2000 between the hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m., there were 116 alcohol-related fatalities. Two weeks later at this same time there were 54 and three weeks later there were 51. A possible reason for the greater number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities on New Year’s Eve may be because a lot more drinking occurs.

But partygoers believe a lot of myths about drinking and driving and these myths can be fatal. People think that if they go only the speed limit, stay in their lane, and obey traffic laws they will be safe, but this isn’t true. The brain reacts to alcohol with the first sip and keeps reacting until well after the last drink. New Year’s Eve partygoers may believe that once they have stopped drinking for the night and had a strong cup of coffee, the effects of alcohol will clear.

But judgment and coordination can take up to 12 hours to clear and the effects can last into the next day. A heavy night of drinking can leave the body in a hyperactive state, causing you to have profuse sweating and an increased sensitivity to light and noise the next day, impairing your driving ability long after the last drink.

Myth: Drink coffee. Caffeine will sober you up.

Fact: The body needs more time to metabolize alcohol and even more time to return to normal. There are no trick cures – only time will help.

Myth: Take aspirin and drink a lot of water at bedtime to prevent a hangover.

Fact: Water helps dehydration, but aspirin can make your stomach hurt – and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be toxic to a liver soaked with alcohol.

Myth: Eat before going to sleep to soak up the alcohol and prevent nausea.

Fact: Food does more the morning after, especially foods with complex carbohydrates (such as cereal and breads) that help to replenish blood sugar and ease an upset stomach.

Myth: A morning drink will help cure a hangover.

Fact: This short-term “cure” only feels good because your brain is reacting to alcohol. You can only get back to normal by getting alcohol out of your system.

How to have a fun and safe party

by Dalia Perez

Stand Tall Club freshman

During the winter holidays is when most people enjoy the company of family and friends. This is also the time of year when people do a lot of drinking. It’s good not to make drinking the number one choice of entertainment at your party.

It is good to have other thing for your guest to do like games, music, dancing, and stuff like that. As a host you have the responsibility to make sure that your guests are safe during and after the party, when there are more people on the road. You do not need alcohol to have fun.

Here are some tips provided by the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information on how to make your party safe and fun: make sure to offer your guests plenty of non-alcoholic beverages such as water, juice, and soft drinks; provide guests with nutritious and appealing foods to slow the effects of alcohol. High protein and carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are especially good. They stay in the stomach much longer, which slows the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol. Try to avoid salty foods that encourage people to drink more; stop serving drinks at least one hour before the end of the event. Instead, serve coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, and desserts.

Other tips include: get people ahead of time who will not be drinking to help you make sure everyone has a safe ride home. Be prepared to offer your guests alternate forms of transportation; keep the phone number of a cab companies handy; offer your place to spend the night; don’t let anyone who has been drinking drive. If the drinker insists, take the keys, ask for help from other guests, or temporarily disable the car. If all else fails, say you will call the police (and do so).

Responsible office parties

by Mel Puentes and Carlos Rios

Stand Tall Club Freshman

Rates of those driving while impaired increases during the holidays and many of these people may be leaving an office party. Office parties are fun but they can also have great consequences.

A co-worker could be seriously hurt or, if you are the employer, you may be responsible as the host of the party. If you are hosting an office party, be knowledgeable about your responsibilities and choices.

Here are nine tips, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, that will help keep the celebration fun and safe:

1. Be honest with employees. Make sure your employees know your workplace substance abuse policy and that the policy addresses the use of alcoholic beverages in any work-related situation and office social function.

2. Post the policy. Use every communication vehicle to make sure your employees know the policy.

3. Reinvent the office party concept. Why have the typical office party? Try something new like an indoor carnival, group outing to an amusement park or volunteer activity with a local charity.

4. Make sure employees know when to say when. If you do serve alcohol at an office event, make sure all employees know that they are welcome to attend and have a good time, but that they are expected to act responsibly.

5. Make it the office party of choice. Make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available.

6. Eat … and be merry! Avoid serving lots of salty, greasy or sweet foods which tend to make people thirsty. Serve foods rich in starch and protein which stay in the stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream.

7. Designate party managers. Remind managers that even at the office party, they may need to implement the company’s alcohol and substance abuse policy.

8. Arrange alternative transportation. Anticipate the need for alternative transportation for all party goers and make special transportation arrangements in advance of the party.

9. Serve none for the road. Stop serving alcohol before the party officially ends.

Hopefully these tips will allow hosts to make smart, responsible choices. But also remember, you don’t have to drink to have fun. If you do drink, please drink responsibly. No one wants you to get hurt, least of all your co-workers.