Better safe than sorry

Don't let upcoming holiday celebrations turn into tragedy


Capt. Robert Warfel of the Frankfort Police Department summed it up perfectly in one simple sentence.

“If you’ve had anything to drink, don’t drive at all,” Warfel told State Journal reporter Kristina Belcher during an interview about the statewide “Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

Warfel did not say don’t drink. He merely said drink responsibly.

For many, it is easier said than done.

At this season, there is much merriment as families, friends and business associates gather for holiday cheer. Especially when New Year’s Eve rolls around next week.

Unfortunately, enjoying too much holiday spirits can end in an incredible sadness for some when intoxicated people get behind the wheel.

As Belcher reported, the National Highway Safety Administration says someone in the U.S. dies about every 40 minutes from an alcohol-related crash.

Last year in Kentucky, just in the month of December, there were 449 crashes involving impaired drivers that caused 20 deaths and 586 injuries.

The weeklong period between Christmas and New Year’s is a great time to gather in celebration. Many gifts are opened, many meals are enjoyed and many champagne corks are popped.

Families gather, friends get together and office workers hold a holiday potluck or meet after work for some merriment.

During this seven-day period in Kentucky, there are also two events that will cause revelers to gather, both on Dec. 28. That afternoon, Kentucky and Louisville will meet in Rupp Arena, and then Louisville and Miami will meet in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.

We wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. To ensure this, we implore the use of designated drivers.

If you’ve had something to drink, hand your keys to someone else. If the person offering to drive you has had something to drink, take their keys away from them.

If you’re out and have no other option, call a cab. If you’re at a friend’s house and have no other option, sleep on the couch. 

The life you save may be your own, that of a loved one or of a total stranger.

Saving a life — that would be the greatest gift of all this holiday season.

Happy holidays!

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  • To the esteemed editors, you people  crack me up!  In two consecutive editorials you lambaste the illicit drug heroin that has been implicated in the accidental/suicidal poisoning of ~140 folks a year in KY, even though it is much less toxic/detrimental to the body than alcohol.  Then on the next day you soft pedal around the effects of "holiday spirits" as something that just makes you feel and drive a little funny if you do too much.  

    Looking at the motality figures between the two and the list of short and long term illnesses caused by each, when you compare heroin to alcohol, it is really no contest.  Heroin effects far less than 1% of our population.  Fifty percent of the adults in America are current regular drinkers, 39% of the kids ages 12-17 have had at least one drink in their lifetimes and 63% of full time college students reportedly used alcohol in the past month.  According to the CDC, there are approximately 79,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States. This makes excessive alcohol use the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation. In the single year 2005, there were more than 1.6 million hospitalizations and more than 4 million emergency room visits for alcohol-related conditions.  And this doesn't even account for all of the deaths from auto accidents and alcohol related violent crime.

    Alcohol is really the "scourge" of which you speak.  A scourge is a cause of affliction or calamity, and the facts indicate that alcohol is both. It is cheap, addictive and causes an affliction not only for those who use it but the residents of the community in which the abuse occurs.  And we have two major manufacturers located right here in Frankfort that cannot keep up with demand...and that is considered a good thing!  Your hypocrisy is astounding!  You wear your ignorance proudly on your sleeve like a badge of honor.  You biases are profound.

    We simply must suspend our value judgements about kinds of drugs and admit (however painful it might be) that a glass of beer on a hot afternoon and the bottle of wine with a fine meal are no differennt in kind from the joint of marijuana or snort of cocaine; nor is the evening devoted to cocktails essentially different from one devoted to heroin.  All are examples of the same phenomenon: the use of chemical agents to induce alterations in consciousness.  Your value judgements are of no value in determining what is going on in America.  We are spending far too much time, energy and MONEY on trying to find out why people take drugs, but in fact, what we are doing is trying to find out why some people are taking some drugs that we disapprove of.  No useful answers can come out of that sort of inquirey; the question is improperly phrased.