May 16, 2013— read in full
OK, so the odd drink may not kill you, but at what point does a harmless habit become a hazard?
Humans have been fond of the odd alcoholic tipple for thousands of years. But now the government is worried that alcohol is blighting the nation, leading to antisocial behaviour and major health problems.
How does this affect me?
Although it is illegal for people under 18 to purchase alcohol in the UK, most young people start drinking between the ages of 11 and 15. Although the number of young drinkers has dropped, those who do are drinking more and more.
Studies show that getting drunk can affect young people by:
- Increasing the risk of alcohol-related problems later in life. Common problems include liver damage, gout, coronary heart disease, depression and strokes.
- Putting them in dangerous situations. Alcohol can affect our judgement and so lead to accidents. Young people can also become the victims of crime because it makes them more vulnerable.
- Leading to casual and unprotected sex.
- Making people violent and starting fights. 16% of school students who have committed a crime said they did so while drunk.
Why do it?
Young people drink for a variety of reasons:
- To show maturity.
- To have fun.
- To test their limits.
How do I drink safely and responsibly?
- Know your limits and stay within them. There’s nothing worse than waking up with a sore head or not knowing what you did the night before. Controlling how much you drink will help you avoid this.
- Stick together. If you or someone in your group of friends has had too much to drink, look out for one another. When you are drunk you are much more vulnerable. You could become the victim of a serious crime or accident.
- Remember to eat before drinking. Drinking on an empty stomach speeds up the effects of alcohol on your system and adds to long-terms health problems. Lining your stomach with food should help you tolerate your drink better.
- Don’t mix drinks. Mixing spirits with wine and beer is a guaranteed way to wake up with a sore head. Choose your drink at the start of the evening and don’t change it.