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Plan to party – and make this a safe ‘ball’ season

Plan to party – and make this a safe ‘ball’ season

Attending an ‘after ball’ party has become part of the ball season calendar for most senior secondary school students. Unfortunately, there have been reports of problems at some of these parties with gate-crashers, fights, large groups of drunk young people and accidents causing injury.

“Saying ‘no’ to after-ball functions and/or pretending they don’t happen won’t help anyone,” says Shari Tidswell, health promotion coordinator for Hawke’s Bay District Health Board. “The best way to ensure young people are not harmed is to provide safe venues, educate young people about safe partying and reminding parents to limit the amount of alcohol they give their children.”

“Alcohol has a big impact on teen drinkers. They don’t have the insight to know their limits, and as their brain is still developing the alcohol is more damaging and affects their behaviour more then most adults”.

When they are drunk, teens make decisions that could affect the rest of their life such as getting into a car with a drunk driver, having unprotected sex, damaging property and being injured are common when you combine young people and alcohol.

Shari Tidswell said parents have a major role to play in keeping young people safe if they are going out to parties. “Parents can be good role models and demonstrate sensible drinking behaviours, talk to their teenagers about drinking and set limits for the amount they should drink. Alcohol is a drug so there are no safe levels of consumption, only levels that can limit harm.

“Putting a safe partying plan in place which includes knowing where your teenagers are and who they are with; making sure they have a back-up plan to get home; and they know who to contact in an emergency.

“It’s illegal to give alcohol to anyone under 18 years unless you are their parent or legal guardian. People who are hosting parties should take a look at the ALAC “Plan to Party” resource. It has guidelines and information about planning a party and some very useful safe partying ideas. Check the website:

Things to consider:

Suitable venues, evacuation scheme, liquor licence, phone access, non-smoking, adequate number of toilets, good lighting, clean, and rubbish collected.

Security, limit numbers, pre-sold tickets only, security staff, keep a list of names of ticket holders, stamp people entering and let police know it is happening.

Transport, parking, arrange transport for ticket holders, access to taxis.

Provide entertainment, music and sound system.

Food, kitchen facilities, drinking water available, sufficient food

Safety, set alcohol limits, cans or plastic, no open bottles or home mixed drinks, provide non-alcoholic options, provide a well-stocked first aid kit and someone to administer it.

Shari said in an ideal world people under 18 years wouldn’t be drinking alcohol, but the reality is they are and with good planning, and open communication, keeping them safer this ball season is possible.

“The best balls are the ones you can remember, so with a bit of forward planning, you can make it an event to remember. Remember those party tips….look after your mates, set limits for drinking, know how you’re getting home, get your own drinks, remember to eat before and during the evening, never go off alone, always let people know where you’re going and use your common sense.”

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