With the beginning of 2022 in New York City, the Health Department reminds New Yorkers to practice health precautions this New Year’s Eve.
“No matter how you are celebrating, put safety at the forefront of any festivities,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “We wish all New Yorkers a happy and healthy start to 2022.”
Here are some tips to have a safer New Year’s Eve:
No matter how you celebrate, help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Get vaccinated and boosted, stay home if you’re not feeling well, wear a face mask, and keep your hands clean.
If you meet up with others, get tested for COVID-19 before and after you gather or travel. Consider keeping gatherings small, celebrating outdoors, or gathering virtually.
If you are going to have sex, make sure to practice safer sex. Use condoms or use pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV as appropriate.
If you’re going to drink alcohol, try to decide ahead of time how much you plan to consume and how you plan to get home safely, if traveling. If you are not able to walk, use a designated driver, public transportation, or taxi. Eat dinner first and enjoy snacks throughout the evening. Pace yourself and drink non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. And please, be mindful of the medications you are taking and whether they may increase the effect of alcohol on your body.
If you are going to use drugs, avoid using alone but maintain safe spacing from people you are with. Create an overdose safety plan with someone who knows you are going to use and who could call 911 in case of an overdose or emergency. If you are going to use alone, call the “Never Use Alone” hotline at 800-484-3731 before using so someone can monitor for safety by phone. If you do use drugs use a small amount first.
Please avoid mixing drugs or mixing drugs and alcohol. Using different drugs together, including alcohol, increases your risk of overdose. If you do, go slow and use a small amount first.
Whether or not you use drugs, carry naloxone, a safe medication that can reverse an overdose from heroin and other opioids, including fentanyl. If you are using drugs, leave naloxone out where others can find it.
Please be aware, in recent years fentanyl—a potent opioid—has been identified in cocaine, heroin, ketamine, and methamphetamine. Fentanyl has also been identified in benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Klonopin) and opioid painkillers (such as oxycodone or Vicodin acquired from non-pharmaceutical sources). Fentanyl poses an overdose risk to anyone who uses drugs containing fentanyl. Individuals who lack tolerance for opioids are at even higher risk of overdose if their drugs contain fentanyl.
Here are a few other resources available to ensure New Yorkers enjoy a happy and healthy 2022.
Download the free mobile app Stop OD NYC to learn how to recognize and reverse an overdose with naloxone. The app also links individuals to nearby community-based programs and pharmacies where naloxone is available without a prescription. Or join one of the Health Department’s virtual naloxone trainings, which teach New Yorkers to recognize the signs of an overdose and respond by calling 911 and administering naloxone. The trainings are free, and all participants are offered a free naloxone kit.
If you witness an overdose, call 911 immediately.
Find more information about alcohol and health here, including tips for alcohol and drug use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals seeking support or treatment for alcohol or drug use issues can contact NYC Well by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting “WELL” to 65173, or going to nyc.gov/nycwell. Free, confidential support is available at any hour of the day, regardless of immigration or insurance status, in over 200 languages.
A fully vaccinated person is much less likely to get sick or spread the virus that causes COVID-19, especially if they have their booster shot. To find a vaccination site, visit nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692).
Testing remains an important part of reducing the spread of COVID-19. If you are feeling ill, believe you have been exposed, or have recently traveled or attended a gathering, visit nyc.gov/covidtest, text “COVID TEST” to 855-48, or call 311 to find a testing site near you.
All individuals, regardless of vaccination status or past COVID-19 infection, should wear a mask at all times when indoors and in public settings. All masks should cover the nose and the mouth and rest snugly above the nose, below the mouth, and on the sides of the face. Higher quality masks, such as KN95s or KF94s, can offer an additional layer of protection.
If you are feeling sick you should stay home and leave only to seek appropriate care and testing. If you are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection, such as those with underlying health conditions, you should avoid crowded settings, particularly indoor gatherings. Gathering with others increases the risk of COVID-19, especially if not everyone is vaccinated.