Éduc’alcool has launched an unusual awareness campaign for unusual times to help Quebecers navigate the holidays during the pandemic lockdown.

When Operation Red Nose announced it was suspending its drive-home service for 2020, Éduc’alcool called for the government to increase the number of police sobriety checkpoints. It also asked public transit, taxis and rideshare companies to prepare to increase their services, should the need arise.

In addition, Éduc’alcool is reminding people of things they can do on their own to help reduce the incidence of impaired driving and prevent alcohol abuse during the holidays, even if we are in lockdown.

Running from December 20-31, the campaign features 10 tips, each of which links to more information at educalcool.qc.ca.

The 10 tips:

  • It pays to think ahead. Have a plan for getting home. You’ll thank yourself later. No kidding!
  • Calculate your blood alcohol and stay safe. Get an idea of your blood alcohol content, and how it changes over time. Be smart and stay safe.
  • Solids before liquids. Never drink on an empty stomach. Eating before you drink slows the absorption of alcohol, which you’ll find surprisingly pleasant.
  • Your glass isn’t going anywhere. We promise! No need to chug. Drink slowly and enjoy the taste. It’s better for you and your glass will still be there when you’re done.
  • Do you know exactly how much to pour? Serve standard drinks.
  • Finish one before starting another. Wait until your glass is empty before asking for a refill.
  • Without, with, without, with… Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Tomorrow is not just another day. Wake up feeling fresh, with clear memories of the night before. It’s way more pleasant than nursing a hangover.
  • Alcohol is like sex: no means no! If someone says No, or No more, thanks, don’t insist. Enough is enough and no means no.
  • Anxious? Depressed? Lonely? These feelings are not alcohol-soluble. Our best friends are…our friends and family.

That last tip was added just as the government announced that gatherings of friends and relatives would not be allowed over the holidays. The advice is addressed particularly to people who live alone and are more vulnerable, as well as to their friends and relatives.

Two-minister support

Éduc’alcool is grateful for public and financial support from two Ministers in the Quebec cabinet, each of whom has generously assigned a not-insignificant portion of their discretionary budget to the campaign. The two are Vice Premier and Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, and Transport Minister, François Bonnardel.

“This remarkable assistance allows us to cover the whole period between Christmas and New Year’s, at a time when our budget would have forced us to interrupt our efforts during the holidays. This means we will increase our reach significantly and ensure widespread visibility at the start of the campaign. Overall, it will mean an additional 4 million impressions,” said Hubert Sacy, Director General of Éduc’alcool.

A recording of Mr. Sacy in relaxed conversation with Minister Bonnardel will be posted on social media as Christmas and New Year’s approach, providing an opportunity to further disseminate Éduc’alcool’s holiday advice.

“Through collective awareness and effort, and by acknowledging individual accountability, we can all enjoy this season of sharing and connection, and alcohol—consumed moderately and in the (virtual or in-person) company of others—can play a joyful part,” concluded Hubert Sacy.