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Putnam Daily Voice serves Brewster, Carmel-Kent, Cold Spring, Mahopac, Patterson & Putnam Valley
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Putnam CTC Offers Tips For Safely Ringing In The New Year

More than a million people are expected to hit Times Square to ring in 2017. Lots of them will be imbibing, but celebrations don't have to include alcohol to be fun, says a Putnam group offering tips for a safe and sober New Year's Eve.
More than a million people are expected to hit Times Square to ring in 2017. Lots of them will be imbibing, but celebrations don't have to include alcohol to be fun, says a Putnam group offering tips for a safe and sober New Year's Eve. Photo Credit: BallDrop.com

CARMEL, N.Y. – New Year’s Eve is almost here, the time when many folks make resolutions to lost weight, exercise more or drink less.

If the last one is one your list, here’s some advice for safely ringing in 2017 from the Camp Recovery Center Health Group via Putnam’s Community That Cares Coalition (CTC).

Rethink The Drink

If in the past you’ve had a problem with drinking at New Year’s Eve parties, do it differently this year. Go to a sober party, or throw one yourself. Coming up with a theme for the party takes the attention away from what guests are imbibing and focuses it on the fun they are having instead.

(Make sure the invitation clearly states that only non-alcoholic drinks will be served and are welcome. In other words, guests, no secretly spiking the punch.)

Whip out the old blender and make delicious, booze-free beverages then hand out copies of the recipes to guests.

Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, highway crashes spike during the holiday season, especially around New Year’s Eve.

How Much Is Too Much?

A lot of people are aware that blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal. However, impairment can begin with the first drink. Judgment, coordination and reflexes can be compromised even if you’re well below the legal limit.

You can go online to find Blood Alcohol Content calculators, which take into account weight, the alcohol content of your drink and how many hours you’ve been drinking.

Because women generally have a lower body weight than men, they also have a lower tolerance for the amount of alcohol they can consume before becoming seriously impaired.

If you’re going to drink at all, make sure to know your limits ahead of time. The more you drink, the more you may think you can handle. Once you take that first drink, your judgment about "how much is too much" is impaired.

Designated Drivers Can’t Change Their Minds

If you know you won’t be able to resist having a drink, it’s best to decline to be the designated driver, rather than put yourself and others at risk.

Don’t Get Sucker Punched

Fruit juices in punch, eggnog and energy drinks can mask the taste of alcohol. Bring a large bottle of water with you to the party and keep it in your hand. Taking sips will help prevent you from impulsively picking up a drink with alcohol in it.

Stop Caring So Much About What Others Think

People want to be accepted. That means fitting in by doing what others are doing, whether they’re drinking or not drinking. If you can consciously free yourself from automatically doing what others are doing, you can start to be more determined in how you lead your life.

Talk To Your Teen

Teens constantly hear about the dangers of drinking from parents, teachers and counselors, but to follow through, they need to decide for themselves that they want to stay sober.

Parents should still tell teens not to drink, but they also need to give them good reasons why they should stay away from alcohol. Ask your teen to check in with you during the evening, because even the best-intentioned offspring can let themselves go when their pals are indulging.

Spend New Year’s Eve At Home

Make some cocoa or cider, listen to music, play a board game, watch a movie or watch the big ball drop in Times Square snuggled under a warm comforter. If you fall asleep before the clock strikes midnight, so be it. It’s not a bad idea to stay off the roads, since there are bound to be intoxicated drivers out on New Year’s Eve.

Stick With Your Decision

Whether you’re planning on drinking a limited quantity or having an alcohol-free evening, decide ahead of time what, where and how much (if any). If you find yourself at a party where people are drinking too much and you are uncomfortable, leave or set a certain time to leave and stick to it.

Look To The Future

And, best of all, the way you spend New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the coming 12 months.

So, instead of waking up with a hangover and regrets the next day, you can feel good about yourself … and the year to come.

For more information, visit the website of the Putnam National Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies, by clicking here.

Its offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It is located at 67 Gleneida Ave., Carmel. Its phone number is (845) 225-4646.

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