Star of the TV series Anger Management Selma Blair is reported to have stretchered off of a flight while travelling with son. The bizarre behaviour that precipitated the offloading was seemingly the result of mixing wine and prescription medication.

Disruptive Passenger TrainingThe 43 year old actress was removed from the Delta flight after it arrived in Los Angeles. Newspaper reports indicate that the pilot was so concerned he got in touch with air traffic control to report her behaviour, which allegedly included her shouting 'He burns my private parts. He won't let me eat or drink. He beats me. He's going to kill me.'

There is a long established link between alcohol and disruptive behaviour on flights. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) released figures in 2015 that suggested a significant rise in cases of “disruptive” behaviour on flights. Apparently, incidents have tripled over the past three years. The CAA confirmed over 114 incidents of “disruptive” passengers over the past year. Alcohol consumption before and during flights is specifically identified as a “threat to safety” of passengers and crew, including the pilot.

Research indicates that women are also affected by alcohol to a greater degree than men. This could conceivably be a factor in this case. They become more impaired than men when drinking the same amount of alcohol. The reason for this is that alcohol is water soluble, and there is a greater concentration of alcohol in a woman's bloodstream after drinking. This is because women tend to be smaller than men, so alcohol is less diluted upon reaching the brain than in larger individuals.

The danger of mixing alcohol and drugs is also very real. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warn of the dangers of mixing alcohol with medication. They highlight the fact that the interaction can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination. The risks extend to internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulties in breathing. They also stress that there are medicines that you might never have suspected that can react with alcohol. These include medications which can be purchased “over-the-counter” without a prescription. Even some herbal remedies can have harmful effects when combined with alcohol.

Adrian Pannett, Head of Disruptive Passenger Training at Securicare said, “The likelihood that crews will face intoxicated individuals is sadly high.  They must always be mindful that anyone experiencing cognitive impairment arising from drink or drug use will struggle to process everything at the normal rate, so the best advice is to try to slow things down and take one step at a time. At the same time as endeavouring to de-escalate the crews should recognise that the physical risks remain high, especially if a restraint is initiated. The central breathing drive can be damped down by alcohol and drugs, in particular if sedatives or anti-depressants are in the mix. Managing these risks is something we explore in depth on our courses, where we give crews the tools to get the job done safely ..”

Securicare have worked with airlines extensively over the past 20 years, and been at the leading edge of developing disruptive passenger management solutions. Click here to find out more about our ‘Preventing & Managing Disruptive Passenger Behaviour’ course, and our widely used ‘Disruptive Passenger Restraint System’

Contact us for more information and to discuss your needs: E: trainers@securicare.com or T: 01904 492442

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