This Thursday, March 17, college students all across America will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in two main ways: wearing green and drinking.
With the approach of the holiday, the National Social Norms Center, or NSNC, at Michigan State University is reminding Spartans to take precautions while celebrating.
“We've done research on how students can stay safe because most students approve of actually using alcohol on St. Patrick's Day,” Executive Director of NSNC Dennis Martell said. “What we want to do is not take away the celebratory atmosphere but help them have some protective behaviors.”
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking days of the year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
NSNC does not seek to dissuade students from drinking but hopes to remind students that drinking without the proper safety precautions can have devastating effects.
Holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day can pose additional student drinking risks as students who only drink on occasions may not have the same repertoire of safety precautions that students who regularly drink do, simply due to the lack of experience.
Martell offered students a few easy tips they can implement this Thursday to celebrate the holiday while still being safe and responsible.
Go out with friends
Students should not go out alone and instead should have at least one other friend with them that they stay with throughout the celebrations. If they go out in a group, then the group should also stay together.
Additionally, students should watch out for the other students they go out with, making sure they are in a safe environment and are engaging in responsible drinking.
“If you choose to drink, stay with the same group of friends, and make sure somebody is watching out for you,” Martell said. “That's incredibly important and 90% of students say they do that.”
Avoid mixing drinks
Martell advises students to stick with drinking only one form of alcohol to avoid accidentally drinking too much alcohol.
Martell cited the difficulty in monitoring the percentage of alcohol consumed when drinking multiple different alcoholic beverages with varying percentages as the reasoning for this precaution.
“Stay with one type of alcohol,” Martell said. “If you're going to drink beer, then stay with beer. Don't keep switching up because you never know what the percentage is and you can't keep track that way.”
Stay in the same location
Martell said it is safer to celebrate in one location as traveling can pose unnecessary risks for intoxicated students.
Students should not attempt to bar hop or party hop.
Call for help if necessary
Finally, if students do find themselves in trouble, they should call 911 immediately.
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In Michigan, medical amnesty is provided to minors at medical risk as a result of alcohol intoxication. This removes barriers to calling or seeking help when engaging in underage drinking.
More information about medical amnesty in Michigan can be found on the MSU Student Health and Wellness website.
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