The summer weather made for a great day at Midsumma Carnival. The atmosphere was excellent and from a policing perspective it was a wonderful event to be involved with.

With Midsumma festival now in full swing, there are many more events on the calendar. But with the hot weather many people reach for an alcoholic drink.  We need to be mindful that alcohol affects a person’s ability to make safe decisions. There are strong links between the harmful use of alcohol and both being a victim of, and perpetrating aggression and violence.

Most of us have been in a situation where someone has consumed too much alcohol. If you’re out with someone who has begun to slur their words, talk loudly, or become excitable or unstable on their feet, it might be time to step in as a mate.

Sure, it can be fun watching your mates act like idiots after a few drinks — but what happens if things go wrong? A fight starts and someone gets hurt, or someone collapses and you can’t revive them. There comes a time when you need to say, “Mate, you’ve had enough”.

In some situations we act to prevent problems before they start and at other times we need to jump in before a sketchy situation gets out of control.

Before your friend reaches for the next drink, use some of these strategies:

Ask them to take a break, a walk, or sit in a quieter area.

Take them out to the dancefloor (without the drink in hand).

Take them aside and ask if they are okay, that you’re concerned for them.

Encourage them to leave and grab something to eat.

Grab a water between drinks.

Tell them you will get their next drink — and make it weak.

Never abandon an intoxicated friend — make sure they get home safely.

In the GLBTI community we pride ourselves on looking out for one another and getting people help when it’s needed. If you feel concerned about a friend’s condition, trust your instincts.

The main thing is to stop trouble before it starts. Don’t stand by while your friends go overboard.

By being there for your mates, you can help make the day out a good one for everyone.

Take responsible drinking seriously and look after your mates.

info: Electra Wellens, manager Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit.

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