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Elizabeth Hartney, PhD

Staying Safe During the Party Season

By December 30, 2012

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The party season is upon us, along with numerous risks. Keeping your reputation intact at your work Xmas party is important, but you also need to stay safe in less formal gatherings. So here are some tips:

Understand the effects of alcohol - It's everywhere, it's encouraged, it's a ubiquitous part of every nightclub, party and restaurant menu. But it's also powerful in its effects on your brain and body, increasing your vulnerability to short and long-term health problems, propensity for violence, and risk of injury.

So keep your alcohol intake low, know your limit, and space out your drinks. Although drunkenness may seem like a normal aspect of parties, even one episode of severe intoxication can lead to serious health problems, such as alcohol poisoning.

Be Aware - Don't leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger. These are common ways that drinks are spiked with date rape drugs. Don't take drugs, even if others are doing so, as this increases your risk of sexual assault.

Don't Become a "Missing" Statistic - Organize a ride home ahead of time. It's also a good idea to have a back up plan, in case the person you were counting on lets you down.

Tell someone who is not attending where you are going to be, and tell someone you know at the party when you leave and how you are getting home.

Practice Safe Sex - Generally, sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs is less than ideal for both men and women, although your lowered inhibitions may make it seem like a good idea at the time. Ensure you have condoms of the male or female variety in case you do have sex. And no matter how attractive they may seem through "beer goggles," don't have sex with someone you don't know.

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