Drug council seeks to expand safe drinking programs

Sponsors needed to support free service

The National Drug Council is hoping to expand its Designated Driver and Purple Ribbon Bus programs to support socially responsible drinking throughout the year.

The expansion of both programs will depend upon the type of sponsorship the council can secure. In 2015, seven businesses sponsored the Purple Ribbon Bus. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service also supports the council’s programs.

“It is important to keep a service like this free as we continue to encourage residents and visitors alike to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure they arrive home safely,” said Drug Council Program Manager Brenda Watson. “We encourage others to support the NDC and help ensure not only a safe and happy holiday season each year, but also safer communities.”

The programs currently run during the holiday season. In 2015, the Purple Ribbon Bus ran on New Year’s Eve, offering free transportation to an estimated 1,000 people.

The Designated Driver program, which ran during December, offers an incentive to individuals who agree to be sober drivers for their group. Twenty-six bars and restaurants participated, giving free non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers.

The drug council is still working on the details of how the expansion might work, but it hopes the Designated Driver program can run throughout the year, especially during destination and community-based events, such as Easter weekend, festivals and boating activities.

“Social responsibility is a huge priority for us. Expanding the Designated Driver program will heighten awareness and promote responsible drinking, which is one of our core values,” said Joan West-Dacres, the drug council’s director.

Ms. Watson said the council is also considering running the Purple Ribbon Bus during events beyond New Year’s Eve, and hopes to have at least 10 buses running during New Year’s Eve this year, in addition to publishing a map of the routes so that the bus service is easier to use.