OGDEN – St. Patrick’s Day has become the third most popular drinking day in America. It’s also one of the deadliest times on the road.
That makes it a decidedly unlucky holiday for the people who are killed every 30 minutes due to alcohol-related accidents.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, you may also be pushing your luck walking home if you’re under the influence. In 2018, 33% of pedestrians were killed in vehicle related accidents on St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday is also the most popular day to introduce binge drinking to high school and college students.
“I think those statistics are absolutely alarming,” said McKenzei Martin, behavioral health services nurse manager at Ogden Regional Medical Center’s Alcohol Chemical Treatment Center. “We do tend to see an influx right before, or right after, the holiday.”
Utah’s blood alcohol content limit is 0.05% making it the strictest DUI limit in the nation. That means even one drink can put some people over the limit, resulting in a $ 10,000 fine or jail time.
The holiday is meant to honor Ireland’s patron Saint Patrick on the anniversary of his death. The day is usually spent eating certain foods, attending parades, dancing and of course, a lot of green – even dyed green beer. Excessive alcohol use can lead to addiction and can potnetially cause physical problems.
According to American Addiction Centers, even drinking within recommended limits can increase an individual’s overall risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Alcohol can also cause slower reflexes, affect balance and can contribute to learning, sleep and memory problems. In terms of organ problems, it has been known to affect the kidneys and liver.
Martin said she hopes people will be more responsible this St. Patrick’s Day and try to focus on other things at parties, such as the food, company and entertainment.
“Set a limit and be safe. Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking. We have a lot of people come in seeking help through our services, ”Martin said. “We have a handful of programs that include inpatient stays, intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization. We’re here to help and to help people detox safely. “
Martin said if alcohol is affecting your day to day life, work performance, interactions with friends and family or you are isolating more and not following through with commitments, that’s a clear sign you could need help.
“When a person comes through our doors, we use a non-judgmental approach,” she said. “We just want to do everything to help.”
The center’s intake line is open Monday-Friday from 8 am To 4 pm For help after hours, Martin said to go to your nearest emergency room.