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Alcohol can be a pleasurable experience – when taken in moderation. If we drink too much, it can cause problems both for our health and our relationships. It causes changes to our moods, our bodies and our behaviour.
At 18 you can buy and drink alcohol legally in licensed premises in Britain. However, you need to be aware of the following rules:
- It is illegal to give an alcoholic drink to a child under 5 except in certain circumstances e.g. under medical supervision.
- If you are under 14 you cannot go into a bar or pub unless the pub has a “children’s certificate”.
- If you are aged 14 and 15 you can go into a pub but can’t drink alcohol.
- If you are aged 16 and 17 you can buy, or be bought, beer or cider so long as it’s to drink with a meal. This only applies to areas set aside specifically for meals.
- Except for the above rule it’s against the law for anyone under 18 to buy alcohol in a pub, off-licence or supermarket. It’s also illegal to buy alcohol for someone who is not 18.
Source: Connexions Direct website at October 2010.
Know your limits
The recommended maximum daily quantities for adults are 3-4 units for a man and 2-3 units for a woman. For a younger person, someone who is pregnant or on medication, the limits that your body can take would be much lower. If you are driving it is always better not to drink at all.
The following contain one unit of alcohol:
- ½ pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider
- ¼ pint of extra strength
- 1 small glass of wine
- 1 single 25ml pub measure of spirits
These limits are for an individual day so just because you don’t drink during the week it doesn’t mean that you can spend the weekend “catching up” and binge drinking. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be drinking at all but if you do drink too much, leave 48 hours before you drink again in order to let your body recover and drink plenty of water. And did you know that alcohol can be fattening?
Effects of Alcohol
If you are going to drink it is important to make sure that you eat a meal beforehand. If you drink on an empty stomach it can make you feel ill and will be absorbed into your bloodstream quicker, making you feel drunk.
Other important things to consider in order to drink safely are:
- never mix drinks with other drugs – this can be very dangerous, maybe fatal
- don’t leave your drink unattended as someone might “spike” it (add more alcohol or even drugs without telling you)
- alternate your alcoholic drinks with soft drinks
- avoid drinks that other people have mixed or poured for you – don’t add alcohol to other people’s drinks without them knowing
- don’t think that alcohol can solve your worries or problems – it can’t and will probably make them worse
- remember that alcohol can slow your reactions and your reason – don’t let people pressure you into doing things you wouldn’t normally, eg unprotected sex
Services – if you want help, support or information
If you need any help or guidance please contact the services below. Remember also to check out the Need more info? – Links section of the website.
Page last updated 14 November 2012