Every July 4th in America includes a variety of activities that individuals and families can look forward to, from parades and marching bands, to outdoor barbecues and picnics, to swimming, boating and, of course, grand fireworks displays.
And this year’s July 4th celebrations surely will witness a much greater number of Americans celebrating, given the progress achieved in meeting and overcoming the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.
No doubt alcohol will accompany many of the time-honored activities for which July 4th is known, given over 8 of 10 Americans ages 18 and older have had alcohol at some point in their lifetime, according to our government’s Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (SAMSHA NSDUH). At Tully Hill, alcohol remains the primary substance for which people are admitted for treatment and care to our Inpatient and Outpatient services and programs.
As the prevalence of alcohol cannot be disputed, the role it plays wreaking havoc with individuals and families likewise cannot be argued. Some key data illustrate this clear-cut fact:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us that about 95,000 people a year die from alcohol-related causes, making it the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.
- Alcohol is a major contributor to nearly 19% of all Emergency Department visits and 22% of overdose deaths related to prescription opioids, according to research published in a 2014 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
- Per that same 2019 SAMSHA NSDUH survey already mentioned, nearly 15 million Americans ages 12 and older had either a mild, moderate, or severe alcohol use disorder.
There are several simple steps one can take to prevent alcohol-related fatalities and emergency department visits related to alcohol abuse and dependence, and to help ensure that this and every July 4th turns out to be a sober, safe experience.
Make available and encourage the consumption of non-alcoholic beverages along with alcoholic ones at your activity or celebration. Serve food before, during, and after your guests, friends, and family members drink alcohol. You also can choose to stop making alcohol available an hour before your activity or celebration ends. And be confident in verbalizing if necessary the long-standing, foolproof advice to not drink alcohol and/or do other drugs and drive – and even intervene when it’s obvious such counsel needs to be followed but probably won’t be.
Such uncomplicated planning and sincerity will help make your July 4th holiday festivities not just sober and safe but also enjoyable and, most important, memorable.