OHA’s ‘Rethink the Drink’ seeks to educate about excessive drinking

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The Oregon Health Authority is promoting its “Rethink the Drink” campaign this holiday season, encouraging Oregonians to change the conversation around alcohol.

“One-in-five people living in Oregon are drinking excessively and many of them may not realize it. Excessive alcohol use includes both heavy drinking and binge drinking and alcohol is harming individual health and health in our communities in many ways,” said Dr. Tom Jeanne, Deputy State Health Officer and Epidemiologist at OHA, .

According to the OHA, heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men. Binge drinking involves four to five drinks in a single occasion — such as at a party or a restaurant, or even sitting at home in your living room.

“It’s a big public health problem, affecting all Oregonians, costing Oregon $4.8 billion every year. And it’s responsible for more than 2,000 deaths every year in the state,” Jeanne said.

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The goal of the campaign is to educate people about excessive drinking, how alcohol is prevalent in their communities and what people can do to support others in their efforts to drink less.

Alcohol sales and DUII arrests spike during the holiday season.

“Summer time is definitely our busiest time of the year for DUI’s. From there, they kind of dip a little bit but then with the holidays, we see quite the uptick again in impaired driving,” said Zachary Childers with the board of the DUI Enforcement Team at Bend Police Department.

If you do go out this holiday season, police urge you to make a plan.

“If you don’t have a plan set up ahead of time, you’re setting yourself up for failure later because the alcohol is going to make you feel like you’re okay when you may not be. Set up to do a ride share, get a ride ahead of time, get an Uber, a cab. Luckily we’re in an area that has all of these resources,” Childers said.

OHA’s campaign will run through February. It ran a similar campaign in the summer of 2022. Studies found that people who saw the ads were more likely to talk about alcohol consumption and cut back. 

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