Thursday, September 3, 2015

Stay Safe at Social Events

I was watching last Thursday’s episode of Rookie Blue, and the story line involved a perp (like my lingo?) dosing girls with, you guessed it, Roofies. Now, for the past couple of weeks, I had this idea to put a blog post together about staying safe at school parties and other functions (football games, Homecoming, etc.) You guys are starting out a new year, and there will inevitably be a lot of back to school functions coming up.

With the episode of Rookie Blue fresh in my mind, I decided to put together some tips for staying safe at social events. Many of these involve drinking, so I'm aiming this post toward my college-aged readers. Underage drinking is illegal and I do not condone it. However, in the case that some of my under-21-aged readers might have a drink at the party, read on.

1. Sign a Contract with Your Parents

Talk to your parents about setting up a contract before you start attending parties. You can come up with an agreement about what to do if you or your friends start drinking at parties. A simple contract outlines guidelines you and your parents agree to in the event that you need to call them for a ride home. You should sit down with your parents and discuss your thoughts and feelings about what the contract should say, for both you and them.

2. Use the Buddy System

Plan to go to school events with a group of friends. Stick together and watch out for one another. Groups are less likely to be approached by predators, and can ensure that if one person is having an issue, they won't be left alone while another goes for help.

3. Designate a Driver

If you're attending a party where alcohol will be served (and you're 21, of course), designate a driver. Choose someone from your party who will stick to non-alcholic beverages throughout the event and drive everyone else home safely. You can start a pool, and alternate drivers at events throughout the year.

4. Don't Binge Drink

Again, for my college-age readers, if you're not the designated driver, be careful of how much you drink. Binge drinking can be very dangerous, and is associated with many health problems.

5. Avoid Open Drinks

Do not accept a drink from an open container, punch bowl, soda bottle, or other open container. Stick with drinks from a fresh unopened can or bottle. Open drinks are too easy for someone to spike with any number of substances.

6. Don't Accept Drink from a Stranger

Accepting a drink from a stranger can cause the same dangerous issues as accepting an open-container drink. Either choose your own drink, or have a trusted friend bring one back for you.

7. Eat Before the Event

This may sound silly considering you'll be eating snacks and munchies at the party, but make sure you eat something sustainable before you leave. Either eat dinner first, have a sandwich, a piece of fruit...something that will fill your belly before you start drinking at the party.

8. Avoid Drinking Games

Drinking games make it too easy to lose track of how much you drank. 

School events can be a lot of fun, and are a big part of the social side of school. Make sure you are safe at the events so you can enjoy them all year through.