The Debrief’s Guide to Drinks and Drugs at Christmas Time

Eat, drink, be merry (and safe)

The Debrief’s Guide to Drinks and Drugs at Christmas Time

by Anna Codrea-Rado |
Published on

‘Tis the season for excess, and indulgences of all sorts. During the festive period, alcohol consumption increases, with UK addiction charity Addaction estimating it goes up by 40% in December and that 14% drink more than what they intended. Figures for drug use at this time of year are hard to come by, but if promotional WhatsApps from drug dealers are anything to go by, it very much increases.

Eat, drink and be merry this Christmas, just be safe, too. Here’s The Debrief’s guide to drink and drugs this festive period.

Christmas time is full of relapse triggers

While for most people, all the parties and festivities are a joyous excuse to blow off some steam at the end of the year, for those with substance addictions, Christmas can be the most challenging time of year. 'It brings with it an excess of feelings, with television broadcasts focusing on togetherness, either with family and friends, it can highlight what people do not have in their lives.' Stephanie Keenan, digital manager at Addaction Scotland, has said.

This time of year, can leave those in recovering feeling vulnerable and at risk of relapse. Common triggers include stress and irritation, as can visiting old haunts — all things that are hard to avoid at Christmas. Recovery clinic network UK Rehab recommends that those in the early stages of recovery take precautions during the Christmas period. Attending regular recovery meetings, reading up on recovery literature, and not having unrealistic expectations of family members, are all tips they suggest for those spending their first Christmas sober.

Read more about how to cope with Christmas if you have a difficult relationship with your family here.

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Be mindful if someone says they don’t drink

When it comes to booze at this time of year, the wall-to-wall adverts for cheap spirits and alcoholic advent calendars make it hard to avoid even thinking about. 'The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a time when many drug addicts and alcoholics try to ignore their condition to participate in the camaraderie and festivities of family gatherings, company parties and the like', Joe Floyd, CEO of The Pat Moore Foundation, a rehab facility in California said. 'This behaviour typically results in increased drug and alcohol abuse, especially among those who are already addicts'.

A viral tweet earlier this month served as a stark reminder to be mindful that not everyone else might be feeling quite as festive (read: boozy) as you at the Christmas party. If someone turns down an offer of an alcoholic drink, just respect that decision.

Go easy on the drug dealers’ Christmas specials

Sarah (obviously not her real name) told The Debrief ‘for the last month or so I’ve been getting WhatsApps constantly from a dealer I used to use. They’re full of offers like “Saturday special FREE MD with every order until midnight” or “buy 3 or more items get FREE MD until Sunday midnight”. It’s actually pretty hard not to bulk buy when you know you’re going to be out a lot but…it’s like when you’re in the supermarket and you buy more than you need because it’s on offer. I’ll probably just end up taking more…’

Sarah had started using a different dealer but says these offers have tempted her back to her former supplier. Just as the supermarkets are full of ads for deals on booze, this time of year is also when drug dealers send out promotional WhatsApps with special offers. The premise is the same as any other festive deal really, buy more, spend less... on Class As.

December is one of the busiest months for dealers, of course there’s New Year’s Eve, but people going home to catch up with old friends often make a night of Christmas Eve, and then there’s Boxing Day and the work party…

As tempting as a BOGOF deal is on pills, try to be sensible.

Treat yourself to a drug-checking kit this Christmas

While addiction to party drugs is real, it is rare. And unlike booze, drugs aren’t quite as visible so a little easier for anyone in recovery to avoid. But what about festive drug use those who don’t have an addiction? Harm reduction is important all year round, but especially now when people are indulging more than usual.

Get yourself an early Christmas present and buy an at-home drug-checking kit. Drug checking isn’t a fool-proof solution, but it can drastically reduce the risks of taking drugs by letting you see if what you’ve bought is what you think it is.

Mix and match your stocking fillers, not your drugs

A good rule of thumb with any party drug use is to not mix your substances. This is especially true with certain combinations of drugs and booze. GHB and alcohol, for example, is a huge no-no, and generally, it’s best not to mix alcohol with stimulants such as MDMA and coke.

In terms of dosage, it’s important to start with low dose with any drug and wait at least an hour for the effects to kick in before taking any more. This is especially important given the rise in strength of many party drugs in the last few years.

Don’t be the chump who has to walk home from the village pub

If you’re going home to suburbs or countryside this Crimbo, make a plan for how you’re going to get home from you night out. There’s no night tube at 2 AM on Christmas Eve in the middle of Shropshire – plan ahead. And, if you really are dead set on getting your fix of coke or whatever in the pub on Christmas eve which is, after all, your prerogative, spare a moment to think about how you’re going to feel on Christmas day as you listen to your UKIP-voting uncle bang on about Brexit. Just Saying

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Like this? You might also be interested in:

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The Reality Of Being A Suburban Drug Dealer On Christmas Eve

Follow Anna on Twitter @annacod

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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