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Alcohol (al-co-hol) also known as booze, bevvie, drink and swally is one of the oldest recreational drugs known to humans. It is widely used across society and is a part of British culture.
Alcohol lowers breathing and heart rate and can make you feel relaxed. People using it can feel more outgoing and
experience improved mood and increased confidence. Other effects include loss of memory as well as feeling drowsy,
confused and nauseous. It also reduces your inhibitions and affects judgement. Like other drugs it can lead to dependency
if used regularly and to excess.
It comes in many different forms (beer, spirits, wine) and a dose is dependant on type and purity. UK guidelines suggest not
exceeding more than 14 units of alcohol per week (about 6 pints of beer or medium glasses of wine). It is also recommended to
have a minimum of two alcohol free days per week.
Strength varies a lot and people respond differently. Factors such as body weight, mood, what and when you’ve eaten and tolerance can change how alcohol affects you. And a note for ladies- when you are on your period you might feel more drunk from less alcohol!
If you choose to drink alcohol:
- It is important to know your limits.
- Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs as this can increase harm and the risk of overdose. This includes mixers with caffeine in them such as Red Bull and other energy drinks.
- Drink slowly and have soft drinks or water between alcoholic drinks to pace yourself.
- Drink a pint of water before bed and keep some nearby during the night to keep yourself hydrated.
- Know what you are drinking and avoid mixing drinks.
- If you drink alcohol while taking anti-depressants (or other similar types of medication) you could be more likely to experience a 'blackout' where you cannot remember parts of the night. It could also make you feel drunk from smaller amounts of alcohol. Alcohol can affect your mood and may interfere with the effects of anti-depressants in stabilising your mood.
- Alcohol makes taking most other drugs risky so try to avoid alcohol if you are planning to use other substances.
- Keep a close eye on your drinks when you're out and avoid leaving them unattended.
The sale and consumption of alcohol is regulated by Licensing Acts. It is currently an offence to sell or buy alcohol for someone under 18. Police can confiscate alcohol from under 18’s drinking in public.
There are laws against drinking and driving which you can find out more about here: http://bit.ly/1zV3O40
Despite being psychoactive, alcohol is exempt from The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.