Stay Safe and Enjoy Spring Break

  • Published
  • By Earl Rivers
  • Hurlburt Field ADAPT Program
Spring break offers young adults a great opportunity to relax, enjoy time off from school or work, and spend time with family and friends.

In contrast, spring break is also well known for young adults traveling to party spots and engaging in risky behaviors.

Just because spring break is associated with risky behaviors, it doesn't mean that spring breakers have to place themselves at risk to have fun. Spring break activities can be enjoyed while simultaneously being safe. Making responsible choices can significantly minimize chances of ending up in jail, the hospital or worse.

Consider the following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

- People ages 12-to 20-years-old drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States.

- More than 90 percent of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinking. The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person's blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 percent or above. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks and women consume four or more drinks in about two hours.

- The highest proportion of current drinkers (51 percent) who binge drink is in the 18- to 20-year-old group.

- The prevalence of binge drinking among men is two times the rate of women.

- Everyday in the United States, 32 people die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

- In 2008, 11,773 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, representing 32 percent of all traffic-related deaths.

- Male drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes are almost twice as likely as female drivers to be intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater.

- Among motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes, 30 percent have BACs of 0.08 percent or greater.

- Alcohol use is associated with two out of three incidents of intimate partner violence.

- Approximately 35 percent of victims of violence report that offenders are under the influence of alcohol.

Consider the following tips to help make this spring break a fun and safe vacation:

- Do not drink any alcohol if you are under 21 years old.

- If you are 21 or older, strongly consider abstaining from any alcohol consumption.

- Don't drink more than one alcoholic drink per hour. Don't binge drink.

- Don't participate in alcoholic drinking games.

- Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.

- Eat a real meal before drinking and snack throughout the time of drinking.

- Know the signs of alcohol poisoning: a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels that suppress the central nervous system and can cause loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, low body temperature, respiratory depression, coma, or death.

- Watch your drinks being made.

- Open containers yourself and don't share drinks. Don't drink from punch bowls or other common open containers; they may be drugged.

- Don't accept drinks from other people, and keep your drink in hand. If drinks are out of sight for even a moment, throw it out.

- Keep a hand over cups, or thumb over the top of a bottle.

- Watch out for date rape drugs like gamma hydroxy butyrate, rohypnol and ketamine. These drugs could be placed in your drink while you are distracted to facilitate sexual assault or other crimes.

- Use the buddy system.

- Don't leave anyone behind. Make it a rule to never leave without everyone you came with.

- Don't drink and drive. Always ensure there is a designated driver. If the designated driver has even one drink, they are no longer the designated driver. Call a taxi, a sober family member or sober friend.

- If you're a Department of Defense identification card holder, you can call Hurlburt Field's Airmen Against Drunk Driving at 884-8844 for a free, confidential ride home.

- If you know someone who is about to drive while drunk/impaired, or ride with an impaired driver, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to safely get to where they are going.

To assist Hurlburt Field commanders, first sergeants, leaders and supervisors in promoting responsible alcohol use, the Hurlburt Field Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program provides a wide range of prevention, education, outreach, evaluation and treatment services to active duty members.

The ADAPT Program office is located on the second floor of the Hurlburt Field Clinic, and staff can be reached at 881-4237. Family members of active-duty personnel should contact TriCare-partner Value Options at (800) 700-8646 for information and/or assistance in obtaining substance abuse evaluation and treatment services.