12 Blogs of Christmas – Day 7

Alcohol

Christmas is coming and the party season will soon be in full swing. This is a time that young people gather to celebrate and join in the fun. For most this is enjoyable and harmless fun. But what should young people and their parent/carer be aware of to keep themselves safe at this time and throughout the year?

Alcohol is one socially accepted substance associated with the party season and celebrating. There are clear daily recommendations about how much alcohol a man or woman can drink (this is adult guidelines 18years plus). Even at these recommended levels problems can occur if drinking is regular over many years. Alcohol is not always seen as a dangerous substance, even though there are more deaths per year due to alcohol use than illegal drug use.

The law is clear about young people drinking alcohol. It is recommended that the healthiest option is no alcohol under the age of 18 years. If a young person aged 15 years to 17 does drink alcohol it should be under the guidance or their parent/carer or in an environment where they are being observed. Within a pub or restaurant a parent/carer may purchase beer, wine or cider for a 16 to 17 year old when accompanying a meal. The advice is any alcohol consumed by young people should be less than the recommended adult daily allowance, although none is the healthiest option. Alcohol is not advised for anyone under the age of 15 years due to their developing brain, bones and hormonal system. It is against the law to give alcohol to a child less than five years old. More information about alcohol can be found on the website http://lincolnshirehealthyteens.nhs.uk or at https://www.drinkaware.co.uk

Teenagers see alcohol in many aspects of life. Even a parent’s alcohol use can have an effect on how their child/teen sees alcohol. Parents are advised to be open and have conversations about alcohol with their children from a young age so they grow and develop with a better and healthier understanding of health and risk factors. (Advice for parents can also be found on the suggested websites). The reasons why teenagers drink alcohol is complex but can be associated with peer pressure and that it is socially acceptable. Drinking alcohol in excess or binge drinking can lead to increased risks of using other substances such s drugs/legal highs, having sex (and regretting it) leading to unplanned pregnancy or STIs, aggression/fights and they may sustain injuries due to being more daring than normal.

If you are worried about a drink related issue and need help and support you can get online advice and information from:

www.talktofrank.com

www.addaction.org.uk

www.adfam.org.uk

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk

If someone is in immediate danger due to alcohol call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest accident and emergency department. Alternatively for less urgent support visit you GP.

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