Spectrum is urging partygoers to stay safe ahead of “Mad Friday”, the busiest party night of the year.
Traditionally the last Friday before Christmas, “Mad Friday” marks the beginning of the festive party season but can often be marred by heavy drinking. It can be tempting to indulge when you’re out with friends and family – but drinking too much might make your Christmas memorable for the wrong reasons and could put your health at risk.
To help people stay safe through the party season, Spectrum’s festive campaign promotes ‘Top 10 tips’ for safer drinking, including never leaving drinks unattended on a night out and taking care to stay warm as the weather turns colder.
Jacqui Black, Clinical Operations lead in Wakefield, said, “We know that people tend to drink more than usual during the Christmas period, but drinking heavily can leave you vulnerable, particularly in unfamiliar surroundings. If you are celebrating on Friday, alternate between alcohol and soft drinks, look out for your friends and plan transport home in advance. We hope that everyone enjoys a safe and enjoyable night.”
Don’t drink and drive
Revellers are also being warned to avoid risks such as drink-driving. In the lead-up to Christmas 2017, 246 people were arrested by West Yorkshire Police for drink and drug driving offences and a further 18 people were arrested on New Year’s Day – a record for the force. On average, it takes one hour for the body to process a single alcohol unit; so after a night out, you could easily be over the legal limit the next morning.
Drinking to excess reduces inhibitions, affects judgement and can cause people to behave in a way they later regret. Although most people who drink are never violent, research also suggests that drinking heavily can contribute to aggressive behaviour. In 2017, 40% of people who had been victims of violence believed that the perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol.
Each year, reported incidents of domestic abuse tend to spike around Christmas. Support for anyone affected by repeated domestic abuse is available through the Domestic Abuse Navigator (DAN) project, a partnership between Wakefield Domestic Abuse Service (WDAS) and Spectrum CIC which launched earlier this year. The service also tackles issues underlying domestic abuse, including substance misuse, homelessness and poor mental health. For information about DAN, please email PR@spectrum-cic.nhs.uk or call the Wakefield Domestic Abuse Service on 0800 915 1561.
 National Crime Survey, 2017.