Blackout Wednesday: La Crosse law enforcement remind people the dangers of binge drinking

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, but it’s also the start of a weekend filled with drinking.

Some people call it Blackout Wednesday. It’s also known as Drinksgiving — a night to binge before Thanksgiving.

“We will see an increase in alcohol related things,” said La Crosse Police Sgt. Brook Pataska.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2016 and 2020, over 800 people died in car crashes involving a drunk driver. Drunk driving is just one concern. Sgt. Pataska says La Crosse Police officers will respond to many alcohol related calls.

“It could even be, maybe like, battery complaints, bar fights, disputes downtown, disorderly conduct,” said Pataska.

Binging is a choice you don’t have to make.

“Just know that you’re not alone in choosing to stay sober or be mindful with your drinking habits,” said Gundersen Health System Wellness Education Specialist, Katie Jensen.

Jensen says people should practice O.O.T.A.H – one or two drinks an hour.

“Using that little magic formula, saying one or two an hour, just using that as a way to pace yourself,” said Jensen.

Jensen says most bodies can only process one drink per hour.

“Once your drink is up for that hour, switch to water or switch to something that is going to be non-alcoholic,” said Jensen.

Jensen also suggests creating a schedule.

“Having that plan. Maybe show up to the party late or leave early. Have yourself an exit plan where you know by this time I’m going to make my exit – whatever that looks like,” Jensen said.

Regardless of how much you drink, Pataska says find a driver before you start celebrating.

“Make sure you have that plan before you start drinking,” she said.