Alcohol Awareness

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- It is a wonder how many times this is brought up, but yet, it continues to happen. I'm not referring to any particular group, either civilian or military, race, gender, religious preference, etc... it affects us all. Examples of alcohol related mishaps vary dramatically depending on where the individual is when they make the sometimes fatal decision to do something that looks interesting. The one consistent factor is that normal judgment is impaired and incidents occur whether it be as a pedestrian, in a public forum (bar, restaurant), or could be while visiting with family or friends.

Although alcohol related incidents may vary, when added in with motor vehicles, the statistics are alarming. On average, approximately every 45 minutes someone dies due to a motor vehicle crash that involves an alcohol-impaired driver. In one year, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, accounting for less than 1 percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.

The United States still continues to battle the fight against terrorism and yet our military forces are dwindled down faster from alcohol impaired driving on the same city streets of what most consider the safest neighborhoods on earth. What if it was one of us, or our family, friends or co-workers that was the recipient of such tragedy? The impact is not just a dollar sign; it is so much more than that.

Good judgment can be impaired with as little as one drink. Risk management is simply put as - "have a plan" and "think before you drink".

BOTTOM LINE: Be a good wingman - Protect yourself, your family and friends. Take steps to make sure that you and everyone you celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol. Following these tips can help you stay safe: Plan ahead. Always designate a non-drinking driver before any holiday party or celebration begins. Take the keys. Do not let a friend drive if they are impaired. Be a helpful host. If you're hosting a party this spring, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver, always offer alcohol-free beverages, and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.

Resources are also there during times when a plan goes wrong. Airmen Against Drunk Driving volunteers are available to pick you up on Friday, Saturday and holiday nights from 10 p.m. -3 a.m. The number is (325) 654-AADD or (325) 654-2233.

Goodfellow's CARE line offers eight options for help at anytime and can be reached at (325) 654-2273 (CARE): Mental Health, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Chaplain, Medical Appointments, first sergeant and Command Post, Safety, Airmen Against Drunk Driving, and Military Family Life Consultant.