Spring and summer are almost here and that means many more parties, proms, graduations, summer trips, people going out to clubs, lakes, barbeques, etc.
I wish the young people going to those events who plan to partake of the drinking that often goes on, could just hang out with me on the crime beat for a few days.
I can't tell you the stories I cover where something goes horribly wrong because too much alcohol was involved.
You cannot be too careful in these situations. Many times, young people are naïve to the dangers or simply believe it won't happen to them. Let me tell you, 100% of the victims I've interviewed over the years, have told me, "I didn't think it would happen to me." But, it does.
If you're going out where drinks are being served, don't take your eyes off your drink (even if it's water or soda). If you do walk away from it to dance or use the restroom, don't drink out of it again. I've interviewed victims who looked away to talk to someone for a brief moment, then woke up groggy, hours later in a place they didn't know with a person who wasn't familiar. I've talked to victims who had terrible things done to them when they were drugged and not aware of it until later.
If you go out, go with friends and make a pact that you won't leave each other, no matter what. I often wonder how things would've been different for Natalie Holloway, had her classmates refused to let her go with three men she'd just met, especially since she was clearly tipsy. Drinking too much, often leads to bad choices.
The plan for getting home, needs to be made before you leave. Who is the designated driver? (this is the person who doesn't drink at all, not the one who drinks the least!) Who has the phone number and the money for a cab?
People under 21 should realize it won't matter what they blow on a breathalyzer. If they blow anything at all, they're in trouble, because there is zero tolerance for those who are underage. Yes, it would be a bummer to get in trouble and be out all the money and time it would cost, but, there are many worse consequences. Rapes, kidnappings, crashes that leave people brain damaged or dead. It's a reality that no one likes to consider.
If you party, party smart. Protect yourself and look out for your friends. The last thing you want is to end up as another tragic story on the news.