With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, it is important to keep ourselves and our community safe. By practicing safer substance use and being a good neighbour, St. Patrick’s Day can be a fun, safe and respectful celebration.
Planning ahead and following Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (PDF, 739 KB) are just a few ways to reduce harm and be safer while celebrating.
- Planning for a safe ride home.
- Sticking to one substance. Mixing multiple substances, including prescription medications, can have harmful short and long-term effects as well as increase the risk of overdose.
- Staying hydrated before, during and after drinking or using other substances. This will help to reduce the harmful after effects of substances such as alcohol. Try having one glass of water between every one to two alcoholic beverages.
- Eating a nutritious meal prior to consuming substances and make sure to snack throughout the day.
- Avoiding consuming substances alone.
- Letting a friend know what your plans are and where you will be in advance. Be sure to have a plan to contact help if you need it.
- Setting limits for yourself and sticking to them.
- Dress for the weather! March is still a chilly time of year in Ottawa. Exposure to extreme temperatures can increase your risk of frostbite and other harms. Contrary to popular belief, substances such as alcohol do not make you warmer – so please come prepared.
- For more harm reduction tips and additional information on specific substances visit Carleton Wellness.
Create a Culture of Consent
- Practice bystander intervention: If you see something, intervene safely! Bystander Intervention looks different for everyone, it could involve delegating by asking someone else to intervene, diffusing the situation by using a distraction or directly asking the person involved if they are okay.
- Ask for consent: Whether it’s asking if someone wants to go a party, if they want another drink, or if they want to have sex – just ask and remember that consent needs to be ongoing, specific and freely given so continue checking in with the other person throughout the entire experience.
- Respect the answer: If someone says no, don’t pressure them or continue to ask over and over again. Respect the answer they give you the first time and respond with kindness and understanding.
If you need support before or after St. Patrick’s Day festivities, you can connect with Carleton University’s Sexual Assault Support Centre in person in 3800 CTTC Monday to Friday, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with our peer support volunteers via text at 613-209-1142 or online chat.
Be a Good Neighbour
It is important to do your best to be a good neighbour this St. Patrick’s Day. If you are planning any gatherings, be sure to remain respectful of your neighbours by:
- Limiting the number of guests and sticking to the people you know and trust.
- Letting your neighbours know about the gathering in advance and asking if they have any concerns.
- Keeping noise levels low; excessive noise at any time of the day is illegal if it is considered a nuisance by your neighbours and the fines can be significant.
- Cleaning up after yourself and refraining from disruptive actions like littering and vandalism.
- Reminding your guests to be considerate of the community.
- If you host a gathering, aim to have food for guests who may consume substances as well as non-alcoholic beverage offerings.
- These responsibilities are yours whether you are a guest or are hosting a gathering.
Please be advised the Ottawa Police Service (OPS), Ottawa By-Law and Regulatory Services and the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will have a large and sustained presence in the ByWard Market and Sandy Hill area leading up to and during St. Patrick’s Day activities.
Officers will be present to ensure safe and law-abiding behaviour, focusing on Liquor Licence Act offences and general conduct issues. There will be strict enforcement.
We wish you a safe and fun St. Patrick’s Day!
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