Drinking app expands safety options

 It all began with a drunken phone call.

If you partake in the occasional night out, you may be familiar with the consequences of drinking, whether those are safety concerns or possible regrets.

That was how the creation of an app called Drunk Mode began.

Joshua Anton, the creator of the app, was at a party at the University of Virginia when he received a call from an intoxicated friend. A call he later wondered what would have happened if his friend had been sober.

Anton took that thought and turned it into an idea that could help others stay safe and not make poor decisions. He worked together with several other students to create the app, though they have not all met face to face.

Tyler Wilson, the chief communications officer for the app said they worked together via Skype and other technologies.

“The goal for Drunk Mode is to be the source for college students to not only find out what events are happening on and off campus, but to also protect drunk users from the mistakes/fears that can occur on a usual night out,” Wilson said.

The app has many purposes, including preventing users from making phone calls they later regret and tracking the location of the user and their friends if they get lost.

These features are called, Find My Drunk, which is used to track intoxicated friends, Stop Drunk Dialing where the user can block certain contacts, Breadcrumbs which retraces the user’s steps from the day before (in case they lost something) and a new PANIC! button that will call emergency contacts and even law enforcement if a situation gets out of hand.

The app has grown in popularity and has recently reached one million users.

Cade Stang is a student at St. Cloud State who says the app is one that he wished he had known of earlier and believes it’s useful for people going out.

“It sounds like not that bad of an idea, especially the ‘Find my Drunk’ feature where you can find your friends when you are a little too drunk, or if you need them to get home. Especially in St. Cloud, I’ve lost my friends several times,” said Stang.

Stang said that college towns generally have more people going out and drinking, and that taking extra precautions to be safe is always a good idea.

“Clicking a button to get to your emergency contacts is helpful, and it would probably help a lot of girls who are maybe followed home,” Stang said. “It would help people who have been mugged, so that they can get ahold of someone so they aren’t walking home alone – the buddy system always works. I know some friends who have been mugged on their way home alone, so a panic button would be really good in those situations.”

For an activity often thought of as dangerous on college campuses, Wilson says expanding safety options in general is a good thing to think about, whether people download the app or not.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking at college is something that students see as part of their higher education experience.

They did a national survey and found almost 60 percent of college students between the ages of 18-22 drank alcohol in the past month, with two out of three engaging in binge drinking.

The survey was released October of this year. The study also reported about 696,000 students between the ages of 18-24 were assaulted by another student while drinking.

For Stang, situations involving assault or dangerous scenarios are very serious, and looking back, he wished he had a resource that would have helped provide safety.

“A few weeks ago I was in a situation where I was pushed through a window and had to get 30 stitches from it. None of my friends were there to help me,” said Stang.

He said if he would have known about the app or had more safety options, he would have used them in a heartbeat.

“I will definitely use it in future situations,” Stang said.

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