As the weather heats up during the “101 Critical Days of Summer,” the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention office (NADAP) is reminding Sailors to enjoy their summer responsibly during barbecues, vacations and other seasonal activities.
NADAP recently launched the second annual “Play to Live Pledge” as part of the ongoing “Keep What You’ve Earned Campaign,” and is urging Sailors and Navy civilians to make the right choices when drinking.
Personnel pledge to replace at least one alcohol-related activity with something not involving drinking, said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Craig Houston, drug and alcohol program adviser for Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington.
“That Play to Live Pledge plays a vital role because it helps our Sailors and our civilian counterparts realize that there are more things in this world besides just consuming alcohol,” Houston said.
Houston said alcohol-related injuries and incidents typically spike during summer months when people are vacationing or celebrating holidays. The NADAP campaign reminds everyone to never mix alcohol with driving, cycling, swimming, boating or grilling.
“When it comes to barbecuing, just make sure that you’re following all the safety tips that are in place when we have safety stand downs,” Houston said. Never operate a grill when drinking, he added, and always make sure that the grill operator is sober as well.
Drinking during the summer also poses an additional risk due to the increased chances of dehydration, which causes not only a hangover later, but also a more immediate risk of heat injuries such as cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke. NADAP encourages alternating water with other alcoholic beverages to stay cool and drink smart.
Other key points of the campaign are knowing one’s personal limits on drinking before hitting that point, and not trying to “keep up” with others. Signs that one may be past their limit include losing control over the amount of alcohol being consumed, poor judgment and risk taking, slow reaction times, and confused thinking.
Houston said the most important thing to remember is to have a plan in place before going out, whether it’s having a designated driver, a sober friend to watch your back, or utilizing public transportation to stay safe when enjoying the summer and to get home without incident.
The Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) plays a key role in helping out peers, Houston said. The group is preparing to launch their “Arrive Alive” program, a designated driving initiative aimed at deterring drinking and driving.
“This process helps build awareness,” Houston said of the pledge and larger Keep What You’ve Earned Campaign. “It helps people be mindful of what they have to lose, and what they don’t want to lose.”
Sailors involved in drinking-related incidents not only risk their own health and safety, but may also face loss of rank and pay, involuntary separation from the Navy, as well as fines and jail time.
The Play to Live Pledge can be accessed online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SummerPledge2014, where users can choose between pledge choices, write their own pledge, and offer reasons why they choose to enjoy the summer responsibly.
To learn more about alcohol abuse prevention, visit www.nadap.navy.mil, or contact Houston at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 433-6926.
For more news and information from Naval District Washington, visit www.NavDistWash.org or www.facebook.com/NavDistWash.