Home for the holidays: Be safe

Cathy Brownfield

It’s that time again, with many festivities planned over the next month or so. Highway safety campaigns also are under way to keep folks safe between parties. Those who abstain from substance use/misuse are making their plans. Christmas parties are scheduled. There will be parades and sitting on Santa’s knee to whisper in his ear what each child hopes to find under the Christmas tree this year.

There also is the stress that is related to the holidays for some of us. Hold up. Take a breath.

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday because family can get together for dinner and conversation, no shopping necessary. No competition for anything, just good, old-fashioned family time. For some this is not without its challenges.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) began its Tie One On campaign in 1983. The goal is to reduce traffic deaths related to alcohol use. Give your designated sober driver a red ribbon. Then give your sober driver your keys. The driver is provided non-alcoholic drinks. Everyone has a good time, and the chances of everyone getting home safely is greatly increased.

A couple of other suggestions from MADD: In a pinch, provide a sofa or spare bedroom; keep the phone number of a reliable taxi service handy and take turns being the designated driver throughout the holiday season. The Tie One On campaign started up Nov. 16 and will continue through New Year’s Eve.

Mid-December will see the kick-off of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign through the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The holiday season has proven to be the deadliest season for drunk (impaired) driving. Impaired driving is not just alcohol. Drug-impairment is a problem on the highways. The purchase of substances may be legal, but driving under the influence is not. And it isn’t about someone telling you what you’re going to do. It’s about doing the right thing to keep people safe. Don’t drive impaired.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises, “In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 54, and about 36,000 people were killed in crashes in 2019. Early estimates indicate that crash deaths increased to 38,680 in 202 – a 7 percent increase in deaths, despite people driving less.”

Don’t drive distracted. The CDC also notes that nearly 2,400 teens ages 13-19 were killed in car crashes in 2019. Cause: Driver inexperience. Parents Are the Key is a campaign of the CDC that gives parents sound knowledge to help their teens have safer driving experiences. Know the Eight Danger Zones and Create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement are just two of the discussions at the web site. You can find this information at www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey.

For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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