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Alcohol is technically a drug and its effects can vary depending on the strength of drink (alcohol content), your body size, if you have a full or empty stomach, how much and how quickly you drink.

Although alcohol is a depressant it can make you feel more sociable and relaxed. But it can also exaggerate whatever mood you are in and could make you more aggressive. This can affect your safety as you may do things that you wouldn’t normally do if you feel more confident, or it might cause you to have slower reactions and blurred vision. You may also feel sick and become dehydrated which leads to you having a hangover.

You should also think about the long-term effects of drinking too much. An excessive use of alcohol can cause illnesses such as liver damage, stomach cancer and heart disease.

What does the Law Say?

Although it is illegal to buy alcohol if you are under the age of 18, in certain circumstances you can drink alcohol without breaking the law. Young people aged 16 or 17 can drink beer, wine or cider with a meal if it is bought by an adult and they are accompanied by an adult. However, It is illegal to drink spirits in pubs even with a meal if you are under 18.

To find out more information on alcohol, the effects and the law go to: Talk to Frank.

You can also Telephone 0300 123 6600 or Text 82111

What are Units of alcohol and the recommended daily amounts?
The NHS recommends men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day and women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day. 'Regularly' means drinking at this sort of level every day or most days of the week. It does not mean that if you do not drink during the week that you can drink all of your spare units at the weekend!

So what is a unit of alcohol? A unit is how the alcohol content in a drink is measured. You can calculate the units in a drink by multiplying the amount in millilitres (ml) by the strength (ABV, you should be able to find this on the back of the bottle or can) and dividing the result by 1000.

To help you calculate how many units you drink you may want to use the NHS calculator:
Unit Calculator.

Is your drinking putting you at risk? Take the quiz to find out how your drinking may be affecting you.
Drink Check Quiz

Where can I go for Help?
If you would like to discuss stopping or cutting down on your use of alcohol, or are worried about someone else’s, you can get free and confidential advice and information from:


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