During the holiday season, more people will be on the roads than any other time of the year. Many families travel hundreds of miles to be with their loved ones. Even if you’re just driving down the street, the higher number of vehicles on the roads means an increased risk of being involved in an accident. December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, so learn why many of these collisions are attributed to drugged and drunk driving.
Why The Holidays See A Drug And Alcohol Usage Surge
For many people, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. However, those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, mental health issues, or physical illnesses often feel differently. For individuals in these categories, the holidays are a time to feel lonely, abandoned, and depressed. People who suffer from this would benefit from a dual diagnosis treatment program.
The more joyous and cheerful other people are, the harder it can be for them to feel accepted as they consider their own issues. Drug and alcohol problems greatly increase the chance of interfamily conflict. These addicts often end up shunned or treated poorly. As a result, they spend their holidays alone and suffering through emotional turmoil. This leads to higher consumption of drugs and alcohol, as well as increased trouble with anxiety, depression, and more. In some cases, this leads to suicide.
However, the myth that suicide rates are highest during the holidays is false, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While many suicides do take place in November and December each year, the majority happen in the spring and fall.
Declaring December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
December has been declared as the National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in hopes of reducing collisions due to the influence of drugs and alcohol during this particularly important time of year. Backers of this declaration include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Department of Transportation, President Obama and the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Resources Provided To Encourage Prevention
The groups listed above have created several toolkits, programs, and resource sites to help the cause. These include:
Too Smart To Start
This website helps prevent underage alcohol use by offering resources to families, educators, and communities.
Traffic Safety Marketing
This website works in partnership with the NHTSA’s Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns. It provides free ads, posters, and more.
Stop Underage Drinking
This federal portal offers additional resources to help prevent children from drinking.
NHSTA’s Stop Impaired Driving
This website covers impaired driving of all ages, including statistics and references that can be shared.
ONDCP’s Drugged Driving Page
This resource focuses on providing information about drug usage instead of alcohol crashes, offering particularly useful insight.
Staying Safe This Season
Driving impaired endangers everyone in the vehicle, plus everyone else on the road. During this holiday season and National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we encourage you to do your best to prevent driving under the influence. If your friends or family are using drugs or alcohol, be extra cautious planning holiday events, and always have a planned driver for after. Make arrangements to have a designated driver ahead of time for many social outings. Restricting access to more drugs or alcohol, as well as their keys, can often keep them under control.
If you are going to an event and you know you plan to be drinking, don’t assume that it’ll be a one-drink situation. It may be, but planning ahead means no issues later. You can also opt for transportation services such as Uber, Lyft or taxi’s, eliminating the danger for yourself and others.
Don’t let anyone drive impaired – ever!
We also encourage you to seek professional substance abuse treatment if your substance use is impeding your life. Here at the Dunes East Hampton, our addiction treatment specialists understand what causes addiction, and we’re able to treat the symptoms by uncovering and healing the cause.
The holidays are a tie for love, cheerfulness, and giving. Don’t let drugs or alcohol turn them into an occasion of sadness and pain.