St. Patrick's Day safety

Represent GV well during holiday celebrations

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 3/16/16 11:16pm


A lot of St. Patrick's Day celebrations are held at public institutions, which means there will be a lot of eyes on you. If you are going to a celebratory event, such as Irish on Ionia, think about those who could be in attendance around you. Professors, friends, co-workers? Possible LinkedIn contacts or the love of your life?

Before you get to a level of intoxication where you cannot control yourself or start to partake in risky behavior, think about the long-term effects. Green beer may only last on taps for one day a year, but inappropriate behavior can have consequences that last forever.

St. Patrick's Day was estimated as the fourth most widely celebrated drinking holiday in the U.S. Over 33 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry, yet over half of all Americans plan on celebrating the Irish holiday this year.

With a large celebration comes large responsibility, though. On St. Patrick's Day last year, a life was claimed by a drunk driving accident every 74 minutes, with 75 percent of those crashes involving a driver whose BAC was twice the legal limit. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people between 21 to 24 years old are at the highest risk of being involved in alcohol-related crashes.

Though many college students hate the thought of staying sober when everyone else is drinking, having a designated driver is a surefire way to avoid any drinking-related car accidents. If you plan on celebrating in a larger city, use Uber (your first ride is free!) or local taxis. A couple extra bucks for a safe ride home is a fair trade off for your life.

Consider this: there will be many chances to try new beers and sample festive drinks, but remember to space out your drinks and refresh with water and food. Stay hydrated. Binge-drinking is a serious health risk that can lead to alcohol poisoning or unintentional injuries.

Binge-drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion for men, and four or more drinks for women, generally within two hours. In addition, about 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the U.S. is in the form of binge drinks.

If you are underage, consuming alcohol is certainly a risk. Security during St. Patrick's Day events will be heightened, and surely you wouldn't want to spend the remainder of the semester facing the consequences from one night of fun.

Think about how you portray yourself on social media and in public, as well. Taking a trendy and cute selfie with your friends can be fun, but an overload of drunk selfies might not be ideal for future, or even current employers.

Holidays are a great excuse to post the occasional alcohol-related post, but a picture of you slamming down beer might not be the best representation of your talents.

Don your "kiss me, I'm Irish" shirts and purchase your green beads, but if you're planning to participate in the traditional, booze-related happenings associated with St. Patrick's Day, do so with caution. Use the buddy system. Call a cab. Make your mom pick you up from Irish on Ionia — whatever it takes for you to get home safely. As you're letting loose and taking a study break, make sure you're still representing GVSU Lakers in a way that would make T. Haas proud.

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