Chief's Column: Keep Holiday Parties Safe, Responsible

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The holidays are here, so be sure your party guests don't drink and drive. Photo Credit: File/Jennifer Paluzzi

GRAFTON, Mass. – With the increase in parties and events to help celebrate the holiday season, the Grafton Police Department would like to remind everyone that drinking and driving is a dangerous combination.

To ensure everyone’s safety, the Grafton Police Department would once again like to offer these tips on hosting safe holiday parties. This and more information may be found on the Mothers Against Drunk Driving site.

Responsible hosts know that part of showing guests a great time is making sure they get home safely. Here are some suggestions to help you throw a memorable party without tossing caution to the wind:

  •  Plan activities like party games or door prize drawings. Planned activities engage people, make for less active consumption of alcohol and ensure that your friends remember the great event long after the last piece of confetti has settled.
  •  As guests RSVP, confirm that at least one person in each group is prepared to be the nondrinking designated driver.
  •  Provide plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more.
  • Offer nonalcoholic beverages or mocktails for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol.
  •  If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a noncarbonated base, like fruit juice. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream faster with a carbonated base.
  •  Be prepared by having the number of a taxi service on hand for those who need a ride. Also, be ready with some clean linen so you can turn your sofa into a hotel for guests who need to sleep it off.

During your party

  •  Never serve alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age, and never ask children to serve alcohol at parties.
  •  Don’t let guests mix their own drinks. Choose a reliable “bartender” will help you keep track of the size and number of drinks that guests consume.
  • If a guest appears to be drinking a bit much, offer to freshen his or her drink with a virgin version.
  • Do not push drinks. Drinking at a party is not mandatory for having a good time.
  • Have fun – but not too much fun. To be a good host, you should stay within your limits to make sure your guests stay within theirs.
  • Close the bar 90 minutes before the party ends and serve a great dessert treat with coffee. Remember, only time sobers someone who has been drinking.
  •  If, despite your efforts, some of your guests have had too much to drink, drive them home, arrange for a ride with another guest who is sober, call a taxi or invite them to stay over.

How to approach a guest who is drinking too much

  •  The first time is the hardest, but your actions could save your friend's life. Tell the guest that you cannot let him or her drive home because you care. Offer to let the guest spend the night, call a cab, or ask a sober guest to drive the intoxicated person home.
  • Engage the guest in a conversation to slow down the drinking.
  • Offer high-protein food.
  •  Offer to make the next drink and use less alcohol.
  • Don’t be afraid to insist that your guest sit out the sipping for a while or switch to a nonalcoholic beverage – sparkling cider makes a great substitute for a glass of champagne.

SPECIAL NOTE: To ensure that those under the age of 21 are not possessing, purchasing or being served alcoholic beverages, the Grafton Police Department will be conducting extra patrols to enhance its enforcement of underage alcohol laws through activities such as compliance checks, party patrols and surveillance patrols.

Anyone with questions for the Chief’s Column may submit them by mail to the Grafton Police Department, 28 Providence Road, Grafton, MA 01519. You may also email your questions or comments to chief@graftonpolice.com. Please include an appropriate subject line, as I do not open suspicious email for obvious reasons.

Happy Holidays from the members of the Grafton Police Department!

Normand A. Crepeau Jr.
Chief of Police

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