With exam results out the way many of you will be celebrating this weekend and if you’re a bit of a party animal, you might be tempted to have a drink or two. Before you do, make sure you’re aware of the full facts when drinking alcohol.
In the news
A police chief recently went on the news recommending that alcohol should be made more expensive to discourage under age drinking. He also suggested that the legal drinking age be raised to 21. He feels that some teenagers see alcohol as glamorous, when in fact drinking can be very dangerous to your health.
In a recent survey of 1,000 teenagers aged 15 and 16 it was found that British youngsters are among the worst in Europe for binge drinking, defined as two thirds of a bottle of wine for women or four pints of beer for men. One of the problems is that some shops and supermarkets have recently been caught selling alcohol to underage youth.
So what are the drinking laws?
Under 14’s Can go into a pub with a children’s certificate, but must be with an adult and stay in the garden or family room. They can’t drink alcohol though.
Under 16’s Can go into a restaurant where alcohol is served, if the restaurant allows them to, and can drink, but not buy alcohol as long as it’s bought by someone over 18 and also as long as it is with a meal.
16-17 Can buy beer, port, cider or sherry as long as it is with a meal.
Any age No person can buy alcohol for anyone under the age of 18 from a shop or bar. If they’re caught they can be fined up to £1,000.
Pressure from mates
If you are going out try not to feel pressurised into drinking alcohol. If someone else is trying to make you do something that they’re already doing, they’re probably not sure they want to do it themselves.
At the recent Underage Festival – a music festival for under 18’s held in London , there was a strict no drinking ban. The event was one of the best music events of the summer that had many over 18’s desperate to get in, with no hint of trouble. Laura, 16 from London : – “We know there’s a a no alcohol rule here. Everyone is in the same position. We’ve come to enjoy the music not to get drunk.”
Drinking alcohol might alter the way you behave and you might find that you do things that you wouldn’t do if you hadn’t had a drink. Some things might sound like a great idea when you’ve had a drink, but might not be if you were sober. Make sure your judgment isn’t clouded. There’s nothing worse than waking up the next day regretting any of your actions you did because you were drunk.
The effects of alcohol can also vary greatly between different people: it might make you happy, or bring you right down.
Some things to remember:
Units: Be aware of how many units you’re drinking. If you overdo it, you’ll feel ill and could be putting strain on your liver and other parts of your body. Mind Body & Soul can tell you more about units.
Pour your own: Make sure you’re in control of how much you’re drinking by pouring your own drinks.
Water: Drink plenty of it. Alternating every alcoholic drink with it is a good way of keeping hydrated. Once you start feeling the effects of alcohol, switch to soft drink or water; don’t plough on with the booze.
In good company: If you’re with mates, don’t try and match them drink for drink. Everyone’s tolerance to alcohol is different and drinking competitions will only make you overdo it.
Feel safe: Make sure you’re somewhere you feel safe and not surrounded by strangers. If you start to feel unwell after drinking, you’re going to need your mates around you.
Finding out more
Alcohol information site Drink Aware has loads of information about the effects and the dangers of drinking. You can also test your knowledge of alcohol units and what they mean, keep a diary of your drinking habits and more.
Enjoy your celebrations but look after yourself!