Safe and sober holiday celebrations

17 years ago

    Holiday parties give people more opportunities to use alcohol and other drugs. In fact, there is a 50 percent increase in alcohol and drug related tragedies during the holiday season.  Aroostook Substance Abuse Prevention wishes to remind everyone of this sad statistic, and that it is strictly illegal to host alcohol related parties and/or provide alcohol to persons under the age of 21. Fines for doing so are up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail and could include felony charges if death or injury results from hosting a party or providing alcohol.
    Holiday celebrations can also expose children to substance abuse –through an uncle who drinks too much at Christmas dinner or a friend or family member who offers marijuana at a New Year’s Eve party. The incidence of alcohol poisoning of children is common during the holiday season. So during this time it is especially important that parents keep their children safe and talk with them about staying away from drugs and alcohol. It is essential that parents are good role models for children!
    Here are some holiday celebration tips:
• Let children know what you expect. Tell them that adults may be drinking during holiday celebrations but under no circumstances are they allowed to consume alcohol;
• Plan a nonalcoholic party with your children so they learn that they can have fun without alcohol. Send out invitations with alcohol and drug free messages on them, and make sure the guests know that yours will be a substance-free event;
• For holiday meals, let your child help you prepare and serve traditional drinks without alcohol. You can make nonalcoholic cider, eggnog, or punch; and
• If older children are going to a holiday event, call ahead to make sure that the event will be alcohol and drug free. Check in with the party planner to see what measures are in place to keep alcohol out.
    Why not try these recipes for a really fun party:
Non-Alcohol Citrus Collins
Fill a 10-12 oz glass with ice cubes
2 oz. Orange juice
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz flavored syrup
Fill with club soda. Garnish with an orange slice or a cherry
Non-Alcohol Mai Tai
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup club soda
1 tbsp. Cream of coconut
1 tbsp. Grenadine syrup
In a shaker or tall glass, combine ingredients; shake or stir to blend. Add crushed ice.
    Wishing you and your family a safe and drug free Christmas and New Year.
    This article was brought to you by Aroostook Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP), a countywide substance abuse prevention collaborative. For more information about ASAP and its prevention efforts contact Clare Desrosiers, project director, at 521-2408.