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Dangers of alcohol and cold temperatures

| January 15, 2014


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A difficult start to the year in Tobique First Nation where two bodies were found within days of each other outdoors in freezing temperatures. Alcohol also played a role in at least one of the deaths. Alcohol and cold temperatures don’t mix well, and in some cases can have fatal consequences. News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos reports…

The body of 29 year old Jamie Wolfe was found lying in the snow near a trail off Main Street in Tobique First Nation January 1st, and just days later the body of 53-year-old Vernon Paul was found in the parking lot between the health center and school. Two separate fatal incidents due to the cold; and according to the RCMP, alcohol also played a role in Wolfe’s death.

Chad Cochran of the Caribou Police Department said, “Situations develop when you least expect them, anything can happen, slip and fall over a snow bank anything, and it may be a long time before anyone even realizes that you’re missing. Drinking doesn’t mix with anything, especially in the winter time, if you’re going to drink be smart about it stay inside stay warm.”

The RCMP were unavailable to comment on the story, but previous reports indicate Wolfe walked away from her home towards the trail not properly dressed for winter, and an investigation determined Wolfe had been out drinking with friends on New Years Eve. The claim that alcohol warms you up is a myth. It actually decreases body temperature and INCREASES the risk of hypothermia.

Carl Flynn MD, Family Physician at Pines Health Services said, “Physiologically, it causes a lot of vasodilation; your blood vessels diolate and cause you to lose heat faster, therefore you’re going to become colder quicker.”

In some cases a lot quicker than expected. And when judgement is impaired due to alcohol, it’s difficult to plan accordingly.

“This is a reminder to everyone that you know we live in a very brutal climate at times and fatalities can happen if you don’t dress and act appropriately,” said Flynn.

Police say the best way to avoid the dangers of alcohol and cold temperatures is to stay indoors and plan accordingly if you do consume alcohol. The RCMP is still investigating the death of Vernon Paul, details are pending autopsy results.

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