Sensible New Year’s partying

We are right in the middle of party
season with Christmas just behind us and New Year’s ahead. The cool Cayman
breeze, the lights, the relaxed party atmosphere; the islands are truly
fantastic this time of year. 

But because we are feeling more
relaxed, and enjoying our down-time from work or school, it’s easy to let our
guard down and compromise our safety for fun. Of course, if you have a drink,
then alcohol reduces inhibitions even further, and what may seem a bad idea
most of the time can become something you find yourself involved in. So, how
can we balance having a good time and enjoying ourselves yet remain safe?

Watch your drink

You may be aware of some reports of
people’s drinks being ‘spiked or drugged’; so how can you stay safe? Don’t let
anyone have access to your drink apart from you, and insist on opening your own
bottle or container. Avoid punch bowls, and if you have a dance, don’t leave
drinks standing so take it in turns to look after the drinks and purses.
Remember that a drug like Rohypnol is odourless, colourless and tasteless and
can be added to ANY drink – even water.

Don’t drink and drive!

How many times have we heard this
message? Yet sadly every year accidents happen in Cayman as the result of poor
planning, overconfidence, or not being bothered to arrange alternative
transport. Getting home – and budgeting for the ride home – should always be in
your plan for the evening. Taking it in turns to be the designated driver means
you can still have fun but remain safe, and you avoid arguing with a friend when
they think they’re ok to drive.

If you’re driving…

Ensure that you have enough petrol
(a minimum of a quarter- to a half-tank is recommended) and keep the doors
locked.  Lock your car when leaving it to
go to the ATM or pop into a store. Take your mobile phone with you, charged and
with credit, and have numbers of friends, family and emergency services
programmed in; calls to 911 can be made from locked cell phones and those with
no credit.  Park in well-lit areas if at
all possible. However, sometimes particularly at this time of year, parking can
be difficult and sometimes we’re forced to park in dubious areas, so have someone
walk you to your car. If you suspect you’re being followed in the car, don’t
drive home, but go to the police station, gas station, or anywhere you can get
help.

If you’re meeting someone new…

Even if you feel you know them
really well from long telephone conversations, messaging or emails, you need to
let someone know where you’re going and whom you’re meeting.  Arrange a call from a friend to check all is
well and, if you go somewhere else, let that person know. Agree on a
pre-planned back-up plan of what to do if they can’t get hold of you. A
prospective friend or partner will understand the importance of having your
phone to hand; if they don’t, do you really want someone like that in your
life?

If you’re out and feel uneasy for
whatever reason tell someone, even at the risk of feeling awkward or
embarrassed, just go up to someone and tell them. People really don’t mind; would
you mind if someone asked you for help?

Cayman is a fantastic place to
enjoy and celebrate but lets make it a safe and not sorry one this year. Happy
New Year from all of us at the Employee Assistance Programme!

Emma Roberts is an EAP counsellor.
If you or someone you know would like to speak with a counsellor regarding this
or any other issue, call EAP. To schedule a confidential appointment, contact
The Employee Assistance Programme at 949-9559, or email us at www.eap.ky

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