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2006: Program Encourages Families to Celebrate Safely
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Program Encourages Families to Celebrate Safely

WINFIELD, Ill., December 11, 2006 — The holiday season is a time to celebrate, but not to lose control. Last year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 580 Illinois residents lost their lives in alcohol related vehicle crashes and twenty of those alcohol-related deaths were in DuPage County. Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) wants to see that number decrease this year.

“We spend all year teaching teens to buckle up and never ride with a driver who has been drinking,” says Debby Gerhardstein, RN, BSN, MA director of the Illinois State Chapter of ThinkFirst Injury Prevention Program and the program at CDH. “But this is a message for all ages. If you choose to drink, don’t drive.”

The mission of the ThinkFirst Injury Prevention Foundation is “ThinkFirst: Leading injury prevention through education, research and policy.”

To further assist officials in the fight against drunk driving, CDH adheres to Illinois state law that requires emergency medical personnel to report to law enforcement agencies, if requested, the results of blood or urine tests performed to determine the content of alcohol and/or drugs of an individual receiving emergency medical treatment as the result of a motor vehicle crash. The law has already proven to be an important and effective tool in the fight against drunk driving.

“Making wise choices before getting behind the wheel are choices that not only affect you, they affect your passengers, loved ones and other innocent drivers on the road,” says Christine Grego, RN, emergency department manager at CDH. “Our holiday wish is to see a decrease in the number of avoidable crash victims we see this season – and all year long.”

“The first step an individual can take to assist in this fight against drunk driving is to be a responsible holiday host and to offer alternatives to alcohol for those who are driving and those who simply choose non-alcoholic drinks,” advises Gerhardstein.    In recognition of December as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, CDH’s ThinkFirst program encourages safe and sober driving by offering recipes for non-alcoholic holiday drinks.  Try these festive drinks at your next celebration.

Hot Buttered Pineapple Drink
1 can (48 oz) pineapple juice
2/3 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 sticks of cinnamon

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and serve hot.

Mock Champagne
1 bottle Sprite
1 bottle white grape juice

Chill ingredients and mix well. Serve with a strawberry in wine or champagne glasses if desired. Try with diet soft drink for fewer calories.

Recipes modified from Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola by Elizabeth Candler Graham and Ralph Roberts.

For more information about CDH’s ThinkFirst Injury Prevention program and the educational opportunities the organization offers to area groups and schools contact Gerhardstein at (630) 933-2770.

About Central DuPage Hospital
Central DuPage Hospital is a nationally recognized 361-bed facility located in Winfield, Ill., a suburb west of Chicago. A partnership with Children’s Memorial Hospital (www.CMHatCDH.org) provides children in the suburbs west of Chicago access to advanced pediatric care including pediatric and neonatal specialists of Children’s Memorial.

The hospital is an interdependent network of healthcare organizations and services, including convenient care centers, occupational health services and a full range of options for senior living, home health and hospice care.

For more information visit www.cdh.org.

Media Contact:
CDH Public Relations
Amy Jo Steinbruecker
(630) 933-5117
media@cdh.org