Spring Break Safety
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)
- 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.