Montreal The Gazette
BY ANNE SUTHERLAND, THE GAZETTE MARCH 13, 2014
United Irish Societies, Éduc’alcool join forces in campaign to curb Jackass incidents on parade day
MONTREAL — The St. Patrick’s parade is coming up Sunday and the United Irish Societies has partnered with Éduc’alcool to make sure this year’s event doesn’t turn into a day of drunkenness.
According to the Montreal General Hospital, “up to half of the cases that arrive at the trauma centre may involve risk-taking behaviour while intoxicated” — so much so that the staff have called it the “Jackass” phenomenon, after the movies of the same name that show stupid, dangerous pranks.
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for alcohol-related trauma at the hospital.
“The most common injuries are head injuries,” said Dan Deckelbaum, a trauma surgeon at the General.
“We have car crashes, falls and assaults, all related to alcohol.”
Deckelbaum said that the most stupid part is that many of these accidents are entirely preventable.
“A head injury can mean days, weeks, even months of recovery and has long-lasting impact on the lives of the victims and their families,” the trauma doctor said.
A “Montreal 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Survival Guide” available on the Éduc’alcool website has some helpful tips for those who choose to celebrate — but with moderation.
Tips include making sure to eat something hearty so as not to imbibe on an empty stomach, to drink water between alcoholic drinks, to pace the drinks and to stop when you’ve had enough.
Historically, alcohol sales and consumption reach peak levels on parade day, particularly in the downtown core where many bars and restaurants offer green beer and host parties.
“Immersing yourself in all that’s Irish is great fun, but emulating the drunken stereotype can really turn a brilliant day sour,” said Hubert Sacy, director general of Éduc’alcool.
This was the tragic case in 2010 when a 20-year-old man fell off a float and was crushed under the wheels of a flatbed truck in front of hundreds of horrified onlookers.
Deckelbaum said that the majority of Jackass patients who come to the General are males.
“People will do what they want, and that includes drinking. But if you drink, don’t drive your car and don’t go car-surfing — well don’t do that even if you don’t drink,” Deckelbaum said.
“We ask only that everyone celebrate in a safe, healthy and responsible way,” said Kevin Murphy, of the United Irish Societies of Montreal.
The parade starts at noon at Fort and Ste-Catherine Sts. and continues along Ste-Catherine to Phillips Square.
There will be 18 floats, 15 marching bands from Quebec and Ontario, 130 groups and 2,500 participants in this 191st edition of the annual parade. The reviewing stand will be at McGill College Ave.
Montreal’s flag honours the founders of the city: the French fleur-de-lis, the English rose, the Scottish thistle and the Irish shamrock. City hall in Old Montreal will be lit up in green every night until St. Patrick’s Day on Monday.
To download the Survival Guide, go to http://educalcool.qc.ca/stpaddy2014
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