Drink Responsibly This Summer

Drink Responsibly This Summer

Drink Responsibly This Summer

With the advent of summer weather, many city restaurants have opened up their patios. Toronto has an abundance of lively and beautiful patio spaces where people love to gather. A patio is the perfect place for a date, a chat, a reunion of friends, or even a work meeting! People like to unwind and relax, and a drink or two can be a fun way to do that. However, it’s important to remember that drinking too much can create problems for you and for other people, too. If you’re looking forward to an evening on the patio, stay safe!

  • When Not to Drink. There are some instances where the only way to be safe is to have no drinks at all. These include:
    • Driving. If you’ll be driving home afterward, order a soda. Even one drink can impair your judgement and your reaction time, and GTA commutes can be deadly. If you plan to have a drink after work, take public transit in the morning. And if you find yourself or a co-worker in a situation where they have a vehicle but are too intoxicated to drive, arrange for a way to get everyone home safely. There are no excuses to drive after drinking – your safe options in the GTA include buses, subways, streetcars, taxis, and Ubers.
    • Medications. If you’re on medication, do your research before taking a drink. Many medications interact poorly with alcohol. It may be that drinking while taking a particular medication will neutralize the effect of the drug, or worse, it may cause serious side effects or problems.
    • Strenuous Activity. If you have to do something strenuous later in the day, avoid drinking. Many accidents happen when alcohol is combined with physical labour.
    • Important Decisions. Sometimes people drink because they are stressed about a work or life situation. Alcohol can only impair your judgement, and most times makes things worse. If you have important decisions to make, make them sober.
    • Responsible for the Safety of Others. If you have dependent children or are a caregiver to an elderly parent, their safety depends on you. Don’t drink unless you have made arrangements for them to be supervised by another responsible adult.
    • Pregnancy. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, don’t drink.
    • Youth. If you are a teen or even a young adult, alcohol can affect the way your brain and body are developing. Please delay drinking until later in life.
    • Alcohol Dependency. If you have a problem with alcohol, please seek help. Alcoholism can destroy your life, and there are many supports in place that can help you stop drinking.

  • Safer Drinking. If none of the above applies to you, and you are just out for a fun night on the town, there are ways to make sure that you will stay safe and healthy. Here are some of the guidelines you can follow:
    • Limits. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction recommends that women drink no more than ten drinks per week, with no more than two drinks on most days. For men, the guidelines recommend no more than fifteen drinks per week, with no more than three drinks on most days. It’s recommended that no single occasion should include more than three drinks for women or more than four drinks for men. The Ontario government defines a “drink” as:
      • 341 ml (12 oz.) bottle of 5% beer, cider, or cooler
      • 142 ml (5 oz.) glass of 12% wine
      • 43 ml (1.5 oz.) serving of 40% distilled alcohol (eg, rye, gin, rum)
    • Personal Situation. Consider your size while setting limits for yourself. Someone who weighs less will be less able to rid their body of the effects of alcohol, for example. Also consider your mental and physical health. If you have health problems, drinking may make them worse.
    • Timing. In addition, be sure to drink slowly. Don’t drink more than two drinks in three hours. One way to help yourself do this is to order a non-alcoholic beverage every second time that you order. This will also help to keep you hydrated, which is important since alcohol dehydrates the body, and this can leave you feeling sick, especially on a humid Toronto day!
    • Eat! Eat before you start drinking, and continue to eat while drinking. This helps your body to cope with the effects of the alcohol.

When the above guidelines are followed, they create a culture of moderation among friends, improving the health and safety of everyone. Unfortunately, many people drink to excess, causing problems that are costly in human terms, and also carry a cost to society. Be mindful of the company you keep – if your friends and co-workers often drink to excess, you may be tempted to do the same.

By drinking responsibly, you can help to make your summer patio time relaxing, entertaining, and safe!