From green rivers to shamrocks, people of all nationalities have embraced celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, on March 17 each year.  Traditional festivities include feasts and fun, which of course roughly translates to “green beer”, or other alcoholic beverages.
Tips for a safe St. Paddy’s Day celebration
- If you’re out on the town, keep an eye on your drink. Whether you’re the life of the party or the designated driver, keep your drink—alcoholic or not—in hand at all times. Don’t drink anything that’s been left unattended.
We’re not trying to fear-monger, but many drugs can be slipped into drinks unnoticeably, and your inhibitions may already be down. A 2016 study noted that nearly 8% of students in a study believed their drink had been drugged.  A 2017 article from the UK’s Daily Mail notes 1 in 25 Essex club drinks tested by police in an sample of 200 beverages had been spiked. Ketamine (horse tranquilizer) or GHB—the “date rape” drug—and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs) were found in this 4% of sampled beverages.  Spiking by way of alcohol can also mean you may lose track of how much alcohol you’ve consumed, and potentially put your designated driver at risk.
More reason to keep your inhibitions up, and an eye on your drink—and your friends’.
- If you’re the DD, also be on high alert and keep your drink close. Both drugs and alcohol may be used
- Plan a ride if you’re indulging in alcohol. Keep in mind taxi and ride share services get busy on holidays, especially weekend ones.
- In select regions, Uber and Lyft will schedule pickups in advance—of course, most taxi companies will do this as well, so make sure you pre-book your ride home.
- Alternatively, pre-book a sober friend or family member to come pick you up at the end of the night, or find a non-drinking friend who is partying with you who, who won’t be tempted by the hard drinks.
- Make sure you eat and drink enough water while drinking alcohol.
- If you have food allergies, be aware of what you are eating, and consider cross-contamination by not-so-cautious partygoers. Bring snacks from home if you have food allergies, and keep them with you to ensure they’re still safe. Wear a food allergy medical ID bracelet and carry your epinephrine at all times.
- Alcohol and diabetes can be a tricky mix. Wear a diabetes medical alert bracelet or necklace, test your blood sugar regularly, and ensure you have snacks on hand. Learn more about type 1 diabetes and alcohol at Drinking with Diabetes.
- If you’re going clubbing with epilepsy, call ahead about strobe effects if they affect your seizures. Wear an epilepsy medical ID and ensure emergency medications are accessible and that someone sober knows how to use them.
Be prepared for your St. Paddy’s day festivities, know how to take action and stay safe!
How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?