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2005 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Having a party?

Having a party? Know what you're in for!

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has developed ten tips for hosting a holiday party so that this season the only mess you will be left with is a sink full of dirty dishes! 
CAMH's 10 Tips to Help Reduce Your Risk
1. Don't drink too much yourself! You can stay on top of potential problems better when you can think clearly and act quickly.
2. Plan ahead.
3. Stop serving alcohol a few hours before the party is over. Bring out more alcohol-free drinks and food.
4. Find out how guests will be going home from your party. Be prepared to take away car keys. Know your designated drivers. Have cash and phone numbers ready for taxis.
5. Plan to deal with guests who drink too much. Ask someone to be prepared to help you before the party gets rolling.
6. Serve drinks yourself instead of having an open bar. Avoid doubles. Guests usually drink more when they serve themselves.
7. Be prepared for overnight guests. Get those blankets and sleeping bags ready.
8. Serve snacks! It is better to eat while drinking than to drink on an empty stomach. Try veggies, cheeses and light dips -- they're great and don't make your guests thirsty, as salty, sweet or greasy foods do.
9. Have low-alcohol and alcohol-free cocktails and drinks available too. How about a non-alcoholic punch?
10. Don't plan physical activities, like swimming, skiing, snowmobiling and skating when you serve alcohol. People are more prone to mishaps when they've been drinking.
More and more, courts are placing legal responsibility on people who serve alcohol or host events where guests are drinking. If you plan ahead, you can lower both your risk and your guests' risks of having problems.
If you are hosting a party you are responsible for the safety of your guests which includes:   
injuries or damages that occur as a result of the alcohol you provide;
what happens to guests when they are in your home or on your property;
the safety and behaviour of your guests until they're sober, not just until they leave your party or function.
Why take chances? Follow the tips listed above to reduce your risk and make your party even better!
For more information about alcohol and other drugs call CAMH's R. Samuel McLaughlin Addiction and Mental Health Information Centre at 1-800-463-6273. In Toronto, call 416-595-6111 or visit our new location in Toronto at 219 Dufferin Street.
These tips were developed in collaboration with the LCBO.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre and a teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
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Media Please Contact: Michael Torres, Media Relations Coordinator, CAMH at 416-595-6015.​
CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
CAMH General Information Toronto: 416-595-6111 Toll Free: 1-800-463-6273
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