Night Out Safety Tips

Every weekend millions of Americans spend a night on the town drinking and enjoying the night life. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 37.9 percent of college students ages 18–22 reported binge drinking in the past month. Binge drinking is defined as, "4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men (in a short period of time)"1. Additionally, excessive drinking can increase risky behavior and leads to an increase in physical altercations and sexual assault. Below are tips to ensure you remain safe, and have an enjoyable night.

 

Responsible Drinking

Having a night out on the town doesn't mean that you have to excessively drink or consume more than you normally would. When you drink excessively, the alcohol affects your brain by disrupting communication pathways. This disruption can cause behavior changes and mood changes causing you to make decisions you normally wouldn’t make2. These tips will help you drink responsibly.

  1. Know your limit

When drinking, stay within your limit and don't try to match others drinking. Everyone's response to alcohol is different. Base your limit on past experiences and stay within that safe limit. When you hit your limit of drinks stop drinking alcohol and switch to a non-alcohol beverage or water.

  1. Drink slowly and alternate with water or non-alcohol beverages

It takes an average of 30 minutes to start to feel the effects of alcohol3. Take your drinking slow and alternate with water to avoid overdrinking. A good practice is to have no more than one drink per hour.

  1. Watch your drinks at all times/only allow the bartender to pour your drinks

Rohypnol (roofies), GBH and ketamine are popular date-rape drugs used by sexual predators. The most frequent way that predators use these drugs is to slip them into the drinks of unsuspecting people. These drugs take effect quickly and cause loss of muscle control, confusion, drowsiness and amnesia. It is important to always know where your drink is at all times. If you go to the bathroom take your drink with you.  Never take drinks from strangers and If drinks taste funny or have an unusual color, pour them out.

  1. Ensure that you have a designated driver for travel or use a ride share app

Every year hundreds of people are killed or injured in drunk driving accidents. Don’t drive if you have been drinking. Also, never get into a car with someone who has been drinking. There are much safer options available. Use a designated driver, taxi, or ride sharing app to get safely home. 

  1. Never drink on an empty stomach

Drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea. When you drink without eating first it causes you to get drunk faster, often to dangerous levels. Having that pizza, burger, or other foods in your stomach slows the absorption rate of alcohol into the blood stream.

  1. Use the buddy system

Plan to stick together. It is very easy to get lost in the crowds. Staying with a friend or a group will ensure that someone is looking out for your safety. Go out with your friends, and be sure to go home with your friends. Don’t let your friends go off with people alone.

  1. Avoiding confrontation

Drinking too much alcohol can cause an individual’s behavior and mood to change. For some people their normal personality can quickly be turned into selfish, angry and egotistical behavior. These changes to your emotional state can cause you to get out of control or say and do things you normally wouldn’t do. These tips will help you avoid getting in any confrontations.

  • Remove yourself from the situation
  • Report the situation to the manager of the establishment
  • Remain with a group. Don’t go to isolated areas alone (such as bathrooms)
  • Leave the area and go to a different locaion
  • If an incident occurs, or you feel unsafe, call the police to report the incident

 

How to Prevent Sexual Assault While Drinking

Men

  • Plan ahead before going out and agree to stand up for women
  • Understand the definition of sexual assault and consent – an intoxicated individual is not capable of providing consent – therefore, having sex with an intoxicated person is considered rape
  • If you see someone acting inappropriately, be a good bystander and step in!
  • Understand that video voyeurism, secretly capturing images of another person in a private place without consent, is considered sexual assault
  • Limit drinking

Women

  • Limit drinking and be mindful so that no one tampers with your drink
  • Stay with a friend or group of friends and be aware of potentially dangerous sexual situations.  Plan prior to going out.
  • Be forceful and confident when saying "no"
  • Never leave a friend behind – if you leave with 3, return with 3!
  • Trust your instincts – if it feels wrong it probably is
  • Sign up for a Rape Aggression Defense Course (RAD)
  • Understand that video voyeurism, secretly capturing images of another person in a private place without consent, is considered sexual assault