It's that time of year again. Time for millions of high school and college students to head for fun in the sun during their annual spring break festivities. I would like encourage our young men and women to make safe and healthy choices during their spring break excursions. The vast majority of our sons and daughters will go away to spring break; they will have fun and return home safely, but a each year numerous teens will fall victim to alcohol poisoning, date rate, assault, robbery, and even murder. Studies suggest that nearly all cases involve drug or alcohol abuse. As a result, nearly all could be prevented by following a few basic common rules to ensure health and safety.
Power in numbers
There is power in numbers. Use the "buddy system". You are likely in a new city or country during spring break; therefore you don't know your way around. You don't know where it's safe and what areas to avoid. Criminals and troublemakers "target" tourists especially during spring break. It is a fact that most spring breakers are 18-25 years old and feel "invincible" or a false sense of security and safety. I felt this way, as did my peers and I am confident that most teens still feel like "it can't happen to me". Well I'm here to tell you it can! Make sure your group understands that is their responsibility to watch out for you and vice versa. It is simple, NO ONE GOES ANYWHERE ALONE.
Monitor alcohol consumption
It's naive to think that there won't be drinking, smoking, and crazy partying. With that said, don't binge drink it's not cool and can kill you.
One study of the drinking patterns of students on spring break found the following to be true:
The average male reported drinking 18 drinks per day and the average female 10 drinks per day.
Of the 783 young people surveyed, more than 50 percent of men and 40 percent of women said that they drank until they became sick or passed out at least once.
40% of the men and 33% or the women reported being drunk daily. (May 1998 Journal of American-College Health)
Alcohol poisoning is real and can make you extremely sick. Ever had your stomach pumped, not much fun. Many have died as a result of "passing out" then suffocating on their own vomit. Keep an eye on each other. You know your crew, if someone has had too much get them safely back to the hotel. Don't allow them to pass out on their back; they need to be on the stomach. If someone is really bad shape get professional help.
Date rape - Rohypnol and GHB
Ladies you need to be very aware of your surroundings while at a bar, party or out on a date. There are plenty of "scum bags" just waiting for you to leave your drink unattended. Alcohol use by the victim, perpetrator, or both, has been implicated in 46% to 75% of date rapes among college students. And 78% of college women report having experienced sexual aggression on a date, and dates on which sexual aggression occurred were more likely to include heavy drinking or drug use. Because date rape is often linked to alcohol and drugs, here are a few common sense precautions to take:
Choose group dating. Invite at least one other couple to go out with you.
At parties and clubs, never leave your beverage unattended, and never take drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from strangers. Since Rohypnol and GHB, two "date rape" drugs, are odorless, and often colorless and tasteless, they can get slipped into drinks easily and go unnoticed. Only accept drinks from bartenders or waiters, and try to watch them pouring. At parties, pour your own.
Attend parties and clubs with friends, and make sure you draw up a plan -- in advance -- for keeping an eye out for each other and going home together.
Keep an eye on the sun
Blue skies, beach and stand are beautiful but severe sun burns, dehydration and heat stroke can happen very quickly. Apply sun screen, and reapply often. Drink plenty of water. Learn to recognize the symptoms of sun related illnesses. Excessive fatigue, unquenchable thirst, chills, clammy skin, fever, blisters, dizziness, drowsy, nausea and vomiting. You need to get professional help should any of these symptoms present themselves.
Don't leave cash or valuable items in the hotel room
If you value it don't leave it behind in the hotel. Most reputable hotels will provide you with a safe deposit box upon request. Get one and use it. Don't leave your money, credit cards, jewelry, etc in your hotel room. If you do chances are you'll be the next victim.
Again, it would be silly to believe it wont' happen. There will be lots of "hooking up" during spring break. In many cases those doing the "hooking" don't know much about each other (sometimes they would be hard pressed to remember the name)! I don't advocate one night or one week stands, but be proactive; buy and use condoms. Never mind the risk of STDs (sexually transmitted disease) and the potential for getting a family court summons demanding your submission to a paternity test right around Christmas; when contemplating spring break safety, it goes without saying that spring break girls are not always out to have a good time, but might actually be part of a gang that lures unsuspecting teens into dark alleys where the girls' "friends" are waiting. If you are lucky, they'll just take your wallet.
Learn and explore ways to provide yourself and friends with ways to defend themselves should the need arise. That may be enrolling in a local self defense training class, maybe mixed martial arts, or you may purchase non lethal self defense products such as pepper spray. A good personal protection class combined with a premium oc pepper spray can mean significantly increase your chances of safely surviving a violent encounter.
I wish every spring breaker the best. Hopefully, we will help increase your awareness and preparation for a safe and healthy spring break.
Guardian Self Defense & Security Products