Fairbanks provides tips for a safe and sober holiday season

Fairbanks provides tips for a safe and sober holiday season

The holiday season is fast approaching, which means there will be many gatherings and celebrations. Sometimes these holiday parties can involve alcohol and your family could be exposed to substance abuse.

This year, take the time to talk to your family about the risks of using drugs and alcohol. You can even create substance-free holiday traditions. Here are some helpful tips provided by SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). (http://www.family.samhsa.gov/get/soberholiday.aspx)

•At your holiday gatherings, offer plenty of nonalcoholic foods, drinks and activities.

•To lower the risk of alcohol poisoning, be sure to throw out partly empty alcoholic drinks. Children love to imitate adults, and if they have access to leftover drinks, they may taste the contents.

•Let your child know what you expect. Tell your child that adults may be drinking during the holidays but under no circumstances is he or she allowed to drink alcohol.

•Have a plan in place about what you and your family will do if you are at a party where there are people who have had too much to drink.

•Model responsible behavior by making sure that guests who have been drinking do not drive. Call a taxi or offer to have them stay overnight.

•For your holiday meal, prepare and serve traditional drinks without alcohol. You can make nonalcoholic cider, eggnog or punch.

•If your older child is going to a holiday event, call ahead to make sure that the event will be alcohol and drug free. Check in with the party planners to see what measures are in place to keep alcohol out.

•If your family has had a stressful year due to job loss, a death or other challenges, consider an alcohol free season. Alcohol is a depressant and may add to the stress.

If you have trouble controlling your alcohol consumption or know someone who does, make an appointment at Fairbanks for an assessment. You can talk to a counselor confidentially to determine how alcohol or drugs may be affecting your life or the life of a loved one. Call Fairbanks at 317.849.8222.