Spring break is meant to be fun, but when you are in an unfamiliar area, maybe drinking, and surrounded by people who are almost all strangers, there is a potential for danger. This is not meant to scare you off. College is after all about the experiences. It's just meant to encourage you to read the tips below, and spring break the safe way.
Lauretta Perry, the Community Program Specialist at the University of Minnesota Duluth, sometimes referred to as the “Booze Lady,” met with Lake Voice to share some quick safety tips for students before they head off on their spring break adventures.
1) Watch Your Drink
- You never know what might end up in there. Watch it get made and keep it in hand. If you put your drink down or lose track of it at any time, get a new one. The potential for drink tampering is high; especially in crowds like those you will most likely experience on your trip. The few dollars it will cost for a new one are way better than the price you might pay for the alternative.
2) Stay Hydrated
- Both alcohol and pop (or rather the caffeine in pop, also found in other beverages like energy drinks) are diuretics, meaning that they dehydrate the body. Drinking either all day can be dangerous, especially if you are out in the sun. Make sure that you are taking in a lot of water. A glass of water before bed most likely won’t cut it. The more of either substance you take in the more water you will have to drink. Physical activity can dehydrate you as well, so even if you are out skiing in Colorado, when you are sweating or exerting yourself physically you will want to increase your water intake. It will help you recover faster, leaving the potential for more fun tomorrow.
3) Know the Signs
- As mentioned in tip one, the potential for drink tampering is always there, so knowing the signs of date rape drugs can help prevent much bigger problems. Alcohol overdose is also something you should be watching for. Even if someone goes to bed on their own their blood alcohol level can still be rising, so it is important to continue to check for responsiveness if someone has been consuming a lot of alcohol. A full list of signs for each can be found here.
4) Have a Buddy
- Whenever you go out, you should bring along someone you trust, so that the two (or more) of you can watch out for each other. Make sure that you are coming home with who you go out with. Having that person there to watch for the signs discussed above and to be the voice that will say “uh, not cool” if something is going wrong is incredibly important, especially when you are away from home and in an unfamiliar area. And remember to return the favor and look out for them as well.
5) Pace Yourself
- Drinking rapidly increases your chances of blacking out, which puts your frontal lobe to sleep. If this is done repeatedly it can lead to long term memory and learning problems. As a general rule, it takes two hours for your body to fully process one drink, so keep in mind how much you have had before you decide it is safe to drive or make other decisions. One drink is equal to 12 oz. of beer, 4-5 oz. of wine, or 1 oz. of hard liquor (shots or mixed drinks). For perspective, consider that the average red solo cup is 16 oz. and in all cases can hold more than “one” drink, so if you are drinking in larger quantities remember to adjust your recovery time.
And there you have it: simple ways to keep yourself safe.
“Mostly we want people to have fun,” said Perry. “If you take it slow you are going to have a great time. If you go hard night one, that can set you up for a bad few days.”
So, go out, enjoy your spring break, and please be safe.