The holidays can be difficult times for those dealing with drug or alcohol use disorders. The Department of Health and Hospitals is encouraging all Louisiana residents, including those hosting parties, to take a few helpful steps to help prevent substance abuse this holiday season as part of its Healthy for the Holidays campaign. Finding a balance with alternative activities and maintaining the supports for those with substance use challenges are important ways to avoid a relapse.
“As we gather with our family and friends, it is essential to remember that we play an important role in creating a safe and healthy environment, particularly when we have parties or plan to celebrate in venues that serve alcohol,” said DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. “We can all make small changes or additions to how we celebrate that support those loved ones in our lives that may be struggling with a drug or alcohol use disorder.”
Some key strategies for lowering your risk for substance abuse during holiday celebrations include:
“Managing substance use isn’t just for those in recovery,” said DHH Interim Assistant Secretary for the Office of Behavioral Health Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham. “We are all responsible for ensuring a safe environment for those we invite to join our celebrations, including making sure you have alternative alcohol-free drinks and ensuring that anyone who has had alcohol does not get behind the wheel.”
Party hosts can take simple steps to make their celebrations safe for everyone, including:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a helpful guide for party planners to create safe environments available online here. There are also some drug abuse and prevention strategies available online here.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's Twitter account and Facebook.