The winter holidays are a time to enjoy the company of family, friends and co-workers.  We all have so many responsibilities that sometimes some of the most crucial details get overlooked in the frenzy.  Here is a brief guide to help remind us all of important details and responsibilities during this exciting season - so we can enjoy it safely!

1) Are you aware that 40% of home visitors will inspect the contents of your medicine cabinet? Lock away any prescription medicine in a secure location away from the traffic of guests.  If you have unused or un-needed medicines in your medicine cabinet, take them to the Drug Drop Box at the Lodi Police Department (142 S. Main Street).  The Drug Drop Box is open every day until about 3:30pm.  Please leave medications in their original containers and cross the names off.

2) Remind relatives or guests staying with you not to leave their prescription medicine out where others can access them.  Did you know 80% of child overdose cases are from children accessing medication on their own?  We can prevent this.

3) Did you know that one in three adults prefer a non-alcoholic beverage?  If you are hosting a holiday event, make sure to offer plenty of non-alcoholic choices, such as sparkling water, juice drinks, soft drinks and bottled drinking water.

4) If hosting a holiday event, provide guests with nutritious and appealing foods to slow the effects of alcohol.  Provide food alongside alcohol; avoid the common timeline of cocktails followed by dinner.  High protein and carbohydrate rich foods, like cheese, meat and crackers, should be served with any cocktails.  Those foods stay in the stomach longer, which slows the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol.  Avoid salty snacks, which encourage people to drink more.

5) Serving alcohol to underage teens or adults is illegal and the holidays should never be an excuse to break that law.  In Wisconsin, it is legal to give your own child alcohol IF they are then going to remain with you until the alcohol is out of their system.  If your child consumes alcohol and then leaves your presence, they are breaking the law.  If traveling, remember most states DO NOT allow parents to serve minor children alcohol.

6) Stop serving drinks at least one hour before the end of an event.  Use this time to serve coffee, non-alcoholic beverages and desserts.  If you have guests who have over-consumed alcohol, it is your responsibility to offer them alternate forms of transportation or a bed at your home for the night.

7) Be aware of mixed messages you may be sending to your child about drinking.  Gathering around and telling drinking stories in front of your child, comments like "Thanks, I really needed this drink," asking your child to get a beer or drink for you or someone else, and even encouraging your family and friends to "drink a few more" ALL give the message alcohol is necessary and everyone drinks.

Have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!

-Paula Enger, LCAT Project Director

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