Drinking is Not a Game

Thursday, September 4, 2014 | 8:50 pm

Rethinking Alcohol and other Drugs (RAD-SGV) prevention coalition members have launched “Drinking is NOT a Game”, an effort to promote responsible alcohol use at large events in the City of Pasadena.

With fall right around the corner, the football season and game day tailgating is set to kick-off again. Often lost amid the fanfare are dangerous drinking norms that accompany some large events; studies on tailgating underline that over-consumption of alcohol is endemic at football tailgates.

“Alcohol is the most widely misused drug by youth and adults in our community, with serious, potentially lifelong consequences,” noted Christy Zamani, Day One Executive Director. “However, many underestimate the dangers of alcohol use, especially underage use.”

The stakes are high. In Los Angeles County excessive alcohol consumption is the 2nd leading cause of premature death and disability, costing about 2,500 people in the region their lives every year. An estimated 16% of LA County residents, over 1.1 million, are binge drinkers.

To support healthier habits, RAD has developed a series of PSAs on the dangers of misuse, as well as the following 7 tips for adults who wish to consume alcohol at a large event:

1. Food. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat a full, healthy meal before you drink.
2. Mix it up. Make every other drink a non-alcoholic one, such as water or juice.
3. Pace Yourself. Have no more than one alcoholic drink per hour. Sip slowly.
4. Pass on the hard alcohol. If possible, drink beer or wine.
5. Avoid alcohol games. Chugging drinks as part of a “game” makes it difficult to moderate consumption.
6. Set limits in advance. And do your best to stick to them.
7. Keep busy. Don’t just sit/stand and drink, do something!

To promote a safe game day experience for everyone, the Rose Bowl Stadium also has the following key rules in place regarding alcohol use:

• No beer funnels or other rapid-alcohol consumption devices
• No drinking games (e.g., beer pong, flip cup)
• No consumption of alcohol in tailgating areas after kick-off/event start
• No underage drinking
• No glass containers

According to stadium and local law enforcement officials, Failure to comply with these and other fan guidelines, as well as applicable City, State and Federal laws may result in citation or arrest, as well as loss of tailgating privileges and/or game tickets.

The rules are aimed at reducing binge and underage drinking. Defined as consuming 5 or more drinks in about 2 hours for men and 4 or more drinks for women, binge drinking has serious health implications for individuals, including brain damage, alcohol poisoning, high blood pressure, and increased risk of stroke, injury, and cancer (breast and oral).

On a community level binge drinking is also associated with higher rates of violence, crime and injury (e.g., alcohol-involved auto collisions).

The RAD-SGV coalition wishes fans a safe and enjoyable game day experience, and urges everyone to Say Something to event security, law enforcement or guest services (or call 911) if you See Something dangerous.

RAD’s mission is to create a healthier San Gabriel Valley by reducing Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use through education and prevention policy. For more info, visit www.rad-sgv.org

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