Unison spreads ‘Buzzed driving’ awareness messageWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Unison Behavioral Health Group encourages local drivers to avoid getting behind the wheel “buzzed” as the holiday season concludes.
Unison is in its second year of the “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” campaign, sponsored for $55,000 per year by the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Lucas County. The local chapter is part of a larger national campaign.
“Buzzed” is a common word for being mildly intoxicated when drinking or using drugs. “Buzzed driving is different for everyone, and it really depends on age, weight, height, the type of drinks you’re going to consume, and the hope is to make people aware that just one drink could be considered buzzed driving,” said Kitty Slight, Unison’s marketing manager. This year’s holiday campaign specifically focuses on men between 16-25 as they are at the highest risk.
One drink (1.25 ounces of 80-proof liquor, 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of table wine) for a 100 pound man or woman is enough to make him or her buzzed, according to a chart provided by Unison.
The holiday portion of the campaign kicked off in November, Slight said, because Thanksgiving typically has the most traffic fatalities out of any holiday.
“The holidays aren’t always a happy time for many people. People can feel stress for a lot of reasons that can lead to drinking,” Slight said.
The campaign’s use of social media also makes it unique, she said. So far, the Facebook page has generated 2,900 views and the national campaign’s page had 12,166,922 impressions in 2010. Unison’s Facebook page also offers a sober pledge, which asks signers to always drive sober, not allow anyone they know to drive drunk and identify alternatives to driving home.
Students Against Drunk Driving at Cardinal Stritch High School often works with Unison to spread the message against buzzed driving. The chapter participated in a texting campaign that encouraged area students not to drive buzzed during the 2011 prom and graduation season. The holiday campaign also asks students to text “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” to each other, although not while driving, Slight noted, adding that young adults shouldn’t drink until they are 21.
Slight encouraged parents to talk to their children about drinking. “Studies still show parents have the most influence in their children’s lives,” she said. “Just because your kid is rolling their eyes or sighing doesn’t mean your message is falling on deaf ears.”
As New Year’s Eve approaches, Slight said it is important to plan a way home before going out and to use a designated driver or cab service. “It’s true for every day, not just Christmas and New Year’s,” she said, adding that if you see someone driving drunk, call 911.
Visit http://unisonbhg.org/Buzzed_Driving_16-21.asp to learn more.