What is Alcohol?
What we mean by alcohol here is alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine and spirits. The scientific name for the alcohol in these drinks is ethanol or ethyl alcohol. Other chemical forms of alcohol, such as methanol and butanol, are much more toxic than ethanol and should not be consumed by humans.
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down your body’s responses in all kinds of ways. Just enough can make you feel sociable; too much and you’ll have a hangover the next day, and may not even remember what you got up to; and way too much alcohol in a single session could put you in a coma or even kill you.
Although it’s legal for people aged 18 and over to buy and drink alcohol, that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
What is a unit of alcohol?
A unit is a way of expressing the actual amount of pure alcohol that is in a drink. This allows you to compare how strong one type of alcoholic drink is to another type. For example:
• half a pint of lower-strength beer, lager or cider (ABV 3.6%), or a 25ml measure of spirits (ABV 40%) is 1 unit,
• one pint of stronger beer (ABV 5%) can be almost 3 units, and
• one large glass (250mls) of mid-strength wine (ABV 12-13%) can be over three units.
Check the label on drinks as they often show the number of alcohol units. If they don’t, you can calculate the units by multiplying its ABV (ABV is ‘alcohol by volume’ and shows you the strength of an alcoholic drink), by the volume of the drink (in mls) and then dividing by 1,000
Underage Drinking and the law
Children and their parents or carers are advised that an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option. However, if children drink alcohol underage, it should not be until at least the age of 15 years.
If young people aged 15 to 17 years consume alcohol, it should always be with the guidance of a parent or carer or in a supervised environment.
Parents and young people should be aware that drinking, even at age 15 or older, can be hazardous to health and that not drinking is the healthiest option for young people.
If 15 to 17 year olds do consume alcohol, they should limit it to no more than one day a week. Young people aged 15 to 17 years should never exceed the recommended adult weekly alcohol limits (no more than 14 units a week) and, when they do drink, they should usually drink less than that amount.
5 tips to follow when talking to a young person about alcohol
Get the tone right – Make it a conversation not a lecture. Listen as much as you talk. This encourages young people to pay attention and open up. It’s really important that you don’t come across as judgmental, critical or disapproving of what they say.
Get the timing right – Talking about important issues such as drinking alcohol needs to be done at the right time. Starting a discussion in the middle of an argument about other things can lead to conflict. You’re more likely to have a greater impact on your a young person’s decisions about drinking if you have a number of chats. Try talking when you ‘look busy’ as this gives both of you time to think. Driving the car, cooking, doing an art activity etc are perfect times to have a chat. Think of it as part of an on-going conversation.
Choose conversational triggers – If they haven’t brought up the subject you could find a ‘hook’; a recent film or TV storyline, a celebrity scandal involving drink – simply ask “What do you think?” and follow on from what they say.
Be honest – We don’t want to come across as hypocritical or get caught out saying one thing and having done another but if you’re not honest they might not believe what you tell them. It’s far better to confess, for example, that “yes, I drank at your age – and I wish I hadn’t. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have.” And if their questions get uncomfortable, say so.
Set rules – Young people like to push boundaries and test rules. That’s part of being a teenager. But the fact is that they feel safer if there are guidelines. Have clear rules and have sanctions for breaking them.
For further advice click here.
Alcohol Safety Information
Beer Goggles” are a useful tool – the cheapest we have found are at Family Planning Association – normal beer googles / nightlight beer goggles.
Alcohol Discussion (Rise Above) – Using peer-to-peer discussion, scenarios and videos, young people will be encouraged to identify and assess the risks associated with underage or irresponsible drinking, and how to deal with pressure from peers.
Alcohol and Safety Education Resource – The lesson is designed to last around an hour and is ideal for: Schools, Colleges, Youth Workers, Youth Clubs, Uniformed Organisations, Young People’s Care Providers, Churches
Units and Calories in Alcoholic Drinks – Young people are often shocked about the calorific values of alcoholic drinks.
Rise Above – Famous people explore issues and help young people consider the correct facts.
Just a few drinks – Alan tells how an evening of drinking alcohol led to a sequence of events that changed his life.
#Listentoyourselfie – The Party – Relationships can be confusing, especially if you really like someone but they do things you’re not comfortable with. So think about what feels right for you. This video can also be used in conjunction with..
Party Animals – Advice about the party scene. Know the risks and how to stay safe.
Services available? (who to refer to)
DELTA young people’s Drug and Alcohol Service provides information, advice and support to young people who are using alcohol. The service can help young people to cut down or stop their use. DELTA offers support to Parents and carers and professionals who are concerned about alcohol. This includes information on alcohol, what to look for and changes in behaviour, and relevant signs and symptoms. Practical information on what you can do to continue to support the young person.
Young people can be referred into DELTA with their consent, we ask professionals to complete a referral form, though to contact the service first to discuss the referral.
If the child/young person refuses to access DELTA, we can provide information/leaflets to you, to pass on to them.
Telephone: 01724 298528
Address: 22-24 Cole Street
Frank – Learn the facts about drugs, read real life stories and access helplines.
The Mix – Non-judgmental facts and advice about drugs, legal highs and the side effects to allow you to make the right decisions.
Rise Above – Explore issues and help you make the right choice for you
Drink Aware – Honest facts about alcohol
Alateen – Help and support for teenage friends and relatives of alcoholics
Just a few drinks – Alan tells how an evening of drinking alcohol led to a sequence of events that changed his life
Party Animals – If you’ve been invited to a party and told there will be “free” drink and or drugs, it could come at a price. Know the risks and how to stay safe.