Shawnee residents should note risks of added drinking over holidays

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Gateway to Prevention and Recovery logo

With the holiday season ramping up, opportunities to participate in alcohol-fueled festivities also are on the rise.

Gateway to Prevention and Recovery's Erin Rowland, community-based coalitions coordinator, said there's an unofficial holiday trend on the eve of Thanksgiving — nicknamed Drinksgiving — that residents should take note of.

“It has turned out to be a deadly night for some,” she said.

While many friends and family members are getting together for the first time in months — or even after the pandemic a year or more — people want to celebrate, she said, and the go-to celebration of missed friends and relatives is — you guessed it — drinking.

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Rowland said often the common denominator of a good time for many adults, and unfortunately, youth as well, is the over-consumption of alcohol.

“Experts are saying that this unofficial celebration the night before Thanksgiving is becoming as deadly and dangerous, or even more so, than New Years Eve,” she said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the night before Thanksgiving can also be referred to as Blackout Wednesday, among its many other nicknames.

This nickname is considered to be a deal or discount most bars and restaurants will offer as an all-day happy hour, she explained.

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Nationally, the Southern region of the United States, including Oklahoma, saw a 33-percent increase in alcohol sales the week before Drinksgiving, according to Upserve. An increase of about 33 percent were also found in tickets noting DUIs, Rowland said. She said Texas started an initiative called, “Boycott Blackout Wednesday,” in hopes that the numbers will drop from drinking and driving-related deaths associated with Drinksgiving.

“This Thanksgiving holiday, if you choose to drink any amount of alcohol, make sure you have a designated sober driver to get you home safely,” Rowland said. “While celebrations of joy can fill the weekend with so much fun and quality time, some have experienced great loss and tragedies around the holidays, and Drinksgiving has been the newest contributor in the last few years.”

For more information about alcohol prevention, call (405) 275-3391 or contact Erin Rowland at epresley@gatewaytoprevention.org.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.

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