Safety first over the holidays

CHRISTMAS revellers in Dubbo are being urged to think before they drink.

Staff of the Western NSW Local Health District Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Service are advocating the safety benefits of planning ahead, given the impact of alcohol on mind and body.

Specifically, they want people to make travel arrangements, decide how much they will drink before taking the first mouthful, and know who else will be partying.

Service director Dr Russell Roberts has warned of the consequences of being unprepared.

"Alcohol is a depressant drug which affects co-ordination, concentration, judgement skills and slows response times" he said.

"All of these factors can lead to unexpected situations or accidents and should be kept in mind when partying with alcohol.

"Mixing alcohol with other drugs can also enhance these effects and add more problems to a situation."

The Australian Alcohol Guidelines recommend that on average, males and females should not consume more than two standard drinks on an average day, and no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion, such as a celebration or outing.

The guidelines aim to reduce the risk of alcohol-related injuries.

Dr Roberts has said that help is at hand during the festive period and people with drug or alcohol problems should reach out.

"Staff from the Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Service want to remind the community that even though many services are closed over the holiday period, support from trained staff will still be available," he said.

"If you have any concerns about your drug or alcohol use or that a loved one, please contact the Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 1300 887 000, or for more information, advice and support contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on free call 1800 422 599."

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