Happy New Year!

One of the last fun hoorahs between fall and winter term is celebrating the new year. It’s a time to remember the good times and say good riddance to the bad parts of the year while getting a last bit of party time in before it’s time to hunker down for another 10 weeks of classes.

While it’s fun to go out and party to usher in the new year, it’s important to remember that New Year’s Eve is one of the major holidays when careless deaths and hospitalizations associated with heavy alcohol use are the most common. It’s pretty simple to protect yourself and your friends from being another statistic: just be careful.

If you have to drive to where you are going, always, always, always have a 100 percent sober designated driver. It is never safe to drive while under the influence; it puts you, your friends and others at serious risk. Keep in mind that Portland is host to great cab companies, and TriMet is free on New Year’s Eve, with extended MAX service after 8 p.m. With that said, you can eliminate some of the hassle by going out in your neighborhood or partying at a friend’s house.

At the beginning of the night, have a plan of action and institute a buddy system with your friends. Agree to look out for one another the entire night and commit to not let drinking get out of hand. If everybody is in the same mindset, the night will be tons of fun without unnecessary worry. It’s worth noting that the more alcohol you drink, the slower your reaction time will be, which can ultimately put you at risk for sexual assault by an opportunist.

While drinking, be aware of your own tolerance level and how your body metabolizes alcohol. Don’t try to keep up with others as they pound one drink after another. Your liver can only process one unit of alcohol per hour; any more than that and the excess alcohol becomes poison in your bloodstream and can make you very sick.

Try drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic drink to avoid overdrinking. If you are throwing up, stop drinking right away. Contrary to what you may think, throwing up does not “make room for more alcohol.” It is one of the first signs of alcohol poisoning. Your body can’t metabolize alcohol fast enough, and if enough alcohol goes unmetabolized for too long you could die.

If your friend has had too much to drink, it’s up to you to take that drink out of their hand and look after them. Alcohol poisoning is no laughing matter and shouldn’t be treated lightly. If a friend is passing out, it is already taking effect. Put them on their side and monitor them. If they are having trouble breathing, are excessively sweaty or have a weak pulse, do not hesitate to take them to the ER. Time is of the essence in this situation. However, it doesn’t have to get to that point if you all work together to make sure everybody is happy and healthy.

Now go have some fun and ring in 2014 in style!

Radio Cab: (503) 227-1212
Broadway Cab: (503) 333-3333
Trimet: (503) 238-7433 (trimet.org)