Summer is here, the smell of braai is in the air and students all over the country are settling into a new way of life in University and College.
The temptation to enjoy every minute of this new found freedom is strong, and chances are that the invitations to parties and bars will be flowing!It’s fine to enjoy yourself, try new things, meet new people and make new friends; after all, this is one of learning experiences further education has to offer.
However, within this party atmosphere lurks hidden dangers which may have negative and long lasting effects. In unfamiliar circumstances and with inhibitions lowered, there is a risk that students can end up drinking more than they are used to, enter into drinking competitions with peers or succumb to the temptation to ‘try something new, just this once’.
Binge drinking and drug use are serious problems which can affect students as they enter a new chapter of their lives. Severe hangovers, alcohol poisoning, overdose, unwanted pregnancies and STIs to name but a few are the occupational hazards of the binge drinker who takes risks.
Here are a few tips to keep you safe whilst partying:
- Always tell friends where you are, keep together as a group and do not let one person wander off by themselves
- Learn who you can trust and who you can’t; it’s important to look out for each other Keep emergency money aside for a taxi in case you get stuck; hitching a lift from a stranger could be dangerous
- Do not take drinks from a stranger
- Keep hold of your drinks and cover the top of bottles and glasses to avoid someone ‘spiking’ your drink with a substance Know your own limits; be confident to say when you have had enough and turn down drinks that are offered to youSteer clear of ‘punch’ or homemade drinks; you may not know what is in it
- Be aware that a person who offers you a substance (marijuana for example) may not always know what is in it themselves Know the dangers of drinking games: you may not realise how drunk you are getting
- If you are concerned about a friend, get help: don’t leave it until the next day
- If you would like further advice or support, or you have any questions about substance abuse, please contact BOSASNet on 395 9119, 72659891, send us an SMS (see below) or check out our BOSASNet facebook page.
FACT or MYTH ?
MYTH: Friends will think I’m boring if I don’t drink
REALITY: Friends should be friends no matter what so always keep that in mind. If they respect you, they will respect your choices and not impose their views on you or make you do something you don’t want to do.