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Unraveling the Truth: Debunking the Myth of Alcohol and Drug Use and the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time of joyous gatherings and festive celebrations. For many, it's a time to reflect on the year gone by, reconnect with loved ones, and indulge in merriment. However, it's also a period that is often associated with increased alcohol and drug consumption. There are many misconceptions surrounding alcohol and drug use during the holiday season so it is important to abstain as much as possible.


Myths and Misconceptions:


1. Alcohol and Drugs enhances holiday celebrations:

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is not a prerequisite for a successful holiday celebration. Festive cheer can be achieved through meaningful interactions, lively conversations, and engaging activities. Focus on creating joyous memories that do not depend on the consumption of alcoholic beverages.


2. Alcohol and Drugs relieve holiday stress:

While it is estimated that alcohol temporarily reduces stress levels, the comforting effects are short-lived and can be accompanied by negative consequences. Overindulgence can lead to impaired judgment, increased feelings of anxiety, and detrimental effects on mental health. Seek healthier alternatives such as relaxation techniques, physical exercise, or talking to a friend or family member.


Alcohol, Drugs, and Health Risks:


1. Increased risk of accidents:

Statistics show a substantial rise in accidents during the holiday season, with a significant proportion linked to alcohol and drug consumption. Drunk or impaired driving, falls, and other injuries can tarnish the holiday spirit and lead to devastating consequences. Opt for responsible alternatives such as designated drivers, public transportation, or ride-share services to ensure everyone's safety.


2. Negative impact on mental health:

While alcohol or drugs may seem like a temporary escape from life's troubles, it can exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues and lead to a downward spiral. Depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts can be intensified by excessive alcohol consumption. Consider engaging in self-care practices, such as connecting with a therapist or counselor, to maintain mental well-being.






Responsible Celebrations:


1. Alternatives to alcoholic beverages:

Offer a variety of non-alcoholic options at holiday gatherings, such as mocktails, flavored sodas, and infused water. These alternatives provide a refreshing choice for guests who may prefer not to consume alcohol, have health concerns, or are designated drivers. Providing non-alcoholic beverages alongside alcoholic ones. Encourage guests to drink water between alcoholic drinks and be mindful of their own and others' alcohol intake. According to the CDC, the most dangerous times of the year for drug-and-alcohol-related deaths are December, January, and March. Nearly 91,000 deaths have been reported for the month of December since 1999.


As we debunk the myth of alcohol and drugs usage this holiday season, the data underscores the importance of responsible choices and alternatives to excessive alcohol consumption. Overall, drug deaths continue to rise in the United States, especially post-COVID. According to CDC data, 2021 hit a new record of more than 100,000 overdose deaths nationally, which was an increase of 28.6% over the year before. Opioids and synthetic opioids represented the most overdoses overall. In December 2021 alone, there were nearly 80,000 opioid overdoses — roughly 2580 per day. 


Dispelling the prevailing misconceptions and prioritizing well-being, we can foster a safe and enjoyable holiday season for all. Let us focus on the true essence of the holidays - love, connection, and memorable experiences - free from the harmful effects of excessive alcohol use.






References:


Author Last Name, First initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Title of web page. Name of Website. URL

American Addiction Center's Editorial Staff. (202, August, 7). American Addiction Center. Retrieved from https://drugabuse.com/featured/holiday-highs-and-lows/.



Cooper, S. Sunflower Recover Center. Retrieved from

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