The human brain is still in the process of development until the age of 18 or 19, and it may be more susceptible to damage than the adult brain. In adolescents who regularly drink alcohol, parts of the brain important in planning and emotional control have been found to be smaller than expected.
Drinking 8-10 units per day over extended time periods results in some mental inefficiency; at 11-14 units per day, deficits (reduced brain capacity) are present; at 18 or more units per day, harm can be of the severity seen in someone diagnosed with alcoholism.
Over the age of 65, performance of mental tasks declines less slowly in light and moderate drinkers. However, light and moderate drinking (defined as an occasional 1-2 units) is often associated with other factors which reduce mental decline, such as physical and social activity, a good diet, and better socio-economic standards.
At advanced age, in residential community homes, a ‘social hour’ with alcohol or a unit of alcohol at bedtime, can improve mental well being. On the other hand, alcohol is also a cause of falls in the elderly because it affects balance.
Among all groups, the proportion of pupils who have ever had an alcoholic drink has decreased again since 2013. However, there has been an increase in the proportion of 13 year old girls and boys who reported being drunk in the past week.
Drinking in the last week has fluctuated since 1990 but has been decreasing, for the most part, since 2002. After a large decrease in prevalence between 2010 and 2013, drinking in the last week has remained unchanged between 2013 and 2015, with the exception of a small decrease among 15 year old boys: 19% drank in the last week in 2013, compared with 16% in 2015.
At 14 you can go into a pub, accompanied by an adult that has a children’s certificate but can’t drink alcohol and must stay in the garden or family room.
Under 16 you can go into a pub if accompanied by an adult but can not drink alcohol.
At 16 or 17 and accompanied by an alcohol, you can drink but not by beer, wine and cider with a table meal.
It’s illegal for children under five to drink alcohol at home or on a private premises.
Between 5-18 you can legally drink alcohol at home, at a friend’s house of other private premises.
Selling alcohol to someone under 18 can lead to a maximum fine of £10,000 for bar staff/managers.
It is against the law to buy alcohol on behalf of someone under 18.
Some towns have alcohol-free-zones. If caught drinking there, alcohol can be confiscated. If under 18, alcohol can be confiscated and you can be fined or arrested.
For more information on the laws on alcohol, visit: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/17/contents#pt7-pb4.
You’re away from home for the first time – you can stay out as late as you want, do whatever you want. You’re free – and it’s fun. The last thing you want is for a nasty incident to spoil your new-found freedom.
Who wants a drunken University night out ending with lost phones, purses, wallets, or worse a fight or even a visit to A&E?
Universities are really well geared up to look after their students. Your Student Union will have a Welfare Officer; there’ll be on-campus nurses and doctors and there’s lots of free advice available to help keep you safe.
But to be really safe, students also need to take responsibility for themselves and their mates. So on a night out, there are just a few really easy steps you can take to make sure the night goes off without incident.
Drinkaware have steps to help those stay safe at university :
The alcohol unit guidelines (of not drinking more than 14 units a week) are in place to help protect you and keep the risk of long and short-term harms from drinking alcohol low. The more you drink, the less you will be able to spot dangerous situations or do something risky. Stick to them and you are less likely to suffer from alcohol poisoning or be in a position to help a friend who has drunk too much.
Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble.
Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) say a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream. The RLSS have a dedicated Don’t Drink and Drown campaign to try and reduce the high number of university students who drown after drinking. Alcohol numbs the senses, particularly sight, sound and touch, making swimming very difficult. So, however tempting it may be after a few drinks, please act responsibly near water especially after drinking alcohol.
Drinks spiked with alcohol or drugs can make you vulnerable. It can be a scary experience and many people don’t report the incidence because they simply don’t remember what happened. The symptoms of drink spiking vary on the person or the substance(s) used. You may not notice a difference to the taste of your drink and may simply feel sick or drowsy. If you or your friend suspect you’ve had your drink spiked tell a bouncer or bar staff and call an ambulance if it deteriorates. You can use a bottle stopper or a testing kit. An easier way is to get into the habit of not leaving your drink unattended when you go to the toilet or to dance. Drink within the guidelines (and your own limits) and you’ll be in the best position to keep you and your friends safe.
If you suspect you’ve been assaulted try to tell someone you trust, you can go to the Police, local GP or hospital. If you don’t feel able to straight away you can call the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre on 0808 802 9999 (12 – 2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day).