On March 10, Peer Health Educators set up a booth in The Meeting Place in the Davis Building, demonstrating the effects of drinking and driving. This annual event, “It Could’ve Been You”, was hosted in collaboration with ECSpeRT (Erindale College Special Response Team) and Lifeline.
Starting at 9:30 a.m., students headed to the ECSpeRT office to get “made up”. Students spent the day with simulated burns, bruises, and other injuries to raise awareness and to remind others of potential consequences of drinking-related vehicle accidents.
“We’re students. We’re going to go out, we’re going to party, and we’re going to drink. It’s inevitable, we can’t avoid it. We can’t tell people not to drink, so we tell them that if you’re going to do it, do it safely,” said Stephanie Falcone, leader of the Drugs and Alcohol Team at Peer Health Educators. “Our booth informs others how to drink responsibly. We give tips on how to detect the difference between alcohol poisoning and intoxication, and how to put someone in the recovery position.”
Participating students approached their peers, assured students that their injuries were realistic but not real, and directed them to the event booth. From there, Peer Health Educators engaged students with interactive games and giveaways, dispelled common myths about alcohol, and provided simple suggestions to help students drink responsibly.
“We’re just promoting harm-reducing approaches. Don’t bring debit or credit cards to the bar. You kind of want to bring cash, so you impose a limit on your spending,” said Peer Health Educator Taylor Smith-Fall. Other tips included eating a light meal before drinking, as alcohol takes only five minutes to reach the brain on an empty stomach, or alternating between water and alcohol when playing drinking games.
Previous events from the Drugs and Alcohol Team at Peer Health Educators included a taxi campaign to raise awareness of #TAXI (#8294), a number that students can use to connect to available taxis in the area after a night of drinking and partying.
“Just to have students tell us what to do because they have some experience or know people with these experiences, I can relate more. What they do is really relevant. It’s not just information they’re throwing at you,” said Selasie Ametorwo, second-year psychology major.
For more information on health topics, students can visit the UTM Health and Counselling Centre—DV/SB1123, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 a.m. to 5 p.m.—or check out the HCC website at utm.utoronto.ca/health. For more tips on alcohol harm reduction or information on Peer Health Educators and future events, students can visit the Peer Health Educators office in DV/SB 1114E or contact Chad Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.