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Party Planning Tips for a Safe Celebration

Baltimore County Department of Health
6401 York Road, 3rd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21212-2130
E-mail: substanceabuse@baltimorecountymd.gov

Phone: 410-887-3828
TTY users call via Maryland Relay

When hosting a gathering where alcohol is involved, take steps to ensure your guests' safety both during and after the celebration.

  • Avoid making alcohol the main focus of social events. Never push guests to drink. Entertain guests with music, dancing, games, food, and lively conversation.

  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages, which can include sparkling water, fancy juice drinks, soda, iced tea, and hot cider. For recipes of non-alcoholic beverages, visit Non-Alcoholic Beverage Recipes.

  • Provide guests with nutritious and appealing foods to slow the effects of alcohol. High protein and carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are especially good. They stay in the stomach much longer, which slows the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol. Avoid salty foods, which encourage people to drink more.

  • Stop serving drinks at least 1 hour before the end of the event. Instead, serve coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, and desserts at that time. Keep in mind that this does NOT mean that it will be safe to drink and drive.

  • Drinking coffee does NOT rid the system of alcohol. Alcohol is eliminated from the body at the rate of about one drink per hour (1 bottle of beer, 1 glass of wine, 1 oz hard liquor). Gender, size, metabolism, emotional state, and food intake all play a part in how one handles alcohol.

  • Provide drinkers with alternatives to driving. Offer to let them spend the night, call a taxi, or have someone who has not been drinking drive them home.

  • Don't let an impaired friend drive! If he/she insists on driving, take the keys, ask for help from other guests, or temporarily disable the car. If necessary, say you will call the police, and do so, if all else fails. 

Revised February 3, 2012

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