As the holidays grow closer, and we start to get excited about all of the food, fun, and traditions that are passed on year to year, there is one day that stands out for the wrong reasons.
It’s called “Blackout Wednesday”, but is also sometimes referred to as “Drinksgiving”. Unlike Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Blackout Wednesday isn’t a day of shopping savings. Blackout Wednesday falls on the day before Thanksgiving Thursday, and is commonly associated with binge drinking. While Blackout Wednesday might be popular among young adults or college age students, this day of “celebration” is much more dangerous than fun.
Blackout Wednesday is one of the most dangerous binge drinking days of the year, often times out ranking Christmas, New Year’s, and St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to the harm done by binge drinking there are secondary risks associated with drinking. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) reports that the Thanksgiving holiday produces more people killed in drunk driving crashes than the Christmas holiday.
For many people who go out drinking the day before Thanksgiving, bars will post drink specials and discounted prices for the holidays which could encourage people to do more drinking, if they are under the impression that they are saving money. For college aged young adults Thanksgiving is a low stress holiday in which many come home. They are able to use this holiday as a time to reconnect with old friends in a fun and lively setting such as a bar. As a part of the college culture binge drinking can be set as a norm in some situations. Binge drinking is not safe drinking.
According to the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women. Binge drinking, however, is defined as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours.
There are many dangers associated with binge drinking that could lead to serious legal trouble, physical harm, and also alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning is the result of alcohol intoxication by consuming more alcohol than your body can metabolize within a period of time. Alcohol poisoning can affect a person’s judgment. Symptoms after drinking can include blacking out, slurred speech, incoordination, vomiting or nausea, dehydration, and mood and behavior changes. Sometimes, a coma can occur.
However, if you are of legal age, you can still enjoy your holidays safely and in moderation with a few quick tips.
- Plan Ahead– Before you leave the house decide how much you plan on drinking keeping the dietary guidelines in mind.
- Rotate Your Drinks– For every alcoholic beverage you drink, rotate with water and allow your body time to metabolize those alcoholic drinks.
- Snack– Don’t forget to eat between your drinks as well as hydrating with water. Nutrition is important. Try a handful of trail mix, a granola bar or some crackers.
- Get Home Safe– you may have already planned your ride ahead of time before going out, but in case you didn’t, be responsible and call an uber, cab, or a friend to get you home safely. Do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking.
Remember that the Holiday times are for being together.
Please be safe and plan ahead this holiday season.
For more information on Alcohol and Substance use resources contact SAMHSA’s National Help Line at 1-800-622-HELP (4357)
If you have questions or would like to request additional information on prevention resources in Sweetwater County,
call Shelby Gordon: (307) 352-6677 or