Lee Cook is the University of Brighton’s Police Liaison Officer and he’s back to talk about alcohol awareness and keeping safe! Alcohol is classed as a drug, but unlike most other drugs, it is legal to consume it in most countries around the world. What age you can legally drink depends on what country you live, but in the UK the legal age to drink is just 18.
Alcohol is generally consumed in a social setting, but there are other reasons why people drink. These can include experimentation, having fun, to relax, and to enjoy with food but there is also a sinister side to drinking alcohol. For example many people use alcohol to relieve boredom or to forget about their worries and problems.
Like all drugs, alcohol has many side effects. Some are good, some not so good. The effects of drinking alcohol also vary from person to person and even from drink to drink. The most common factors that will affect a person’s tolerance levels when drinking alcohol are:
- How quickly the drink is being consumed.
- Has the drink been mixed with other alcoholic drinks or drugs?
- How regularly do you drink?
- Your mood when drinking.
- Age, sex, height and general health.
- Whether you have eaten food before drinking.
These days ‘binge drinking’ is common place among many young people. Binge drinking is a large amount of alcohol consumption in a relatively short period of time. Alcohol, especially when binge drinking, can make some people behave in a violent manner. If this is the case with you, you may need to reconsider the amount and types of drinks you are having.
Alcohol is also a depressant, which means it slows down your reactions and can affect your coordination and judgement. Alcohol when consumed in lower amounts can make you feel relaxed.
Mixing drinks may increase the speed in which you become drunk but does carry significant risks. Mixing your drink with other drugs such as stimulants can make you feel like you’re not drunk (when in actual fact you are very drunk). You may take more risks than normal (due to the increased energy) and the come down after heavy drinking can be very nasty.
Some top tips for safer drinking:
- Do not mix alcohol with other drugs
- Eat food prior to drinking
- Drink water between alcoholic drinks
- Know your limits and stick to them
- Never drink and drive
- Don’t constantly hold your drink. Put it down between sips, but keep an eye on it
- Never drink and go swimming
- Stay with friends or people you trust
- Carry condoms with you and use them!
- Know how you’re getting home
If you feel that your drinking is becoming a problem or you’re concerned about a friend, there’s lots of places/people that can help, including your university welfare team and your local police officer.
BE DRINK AWARE…..SPIKING
Drink spiking is when a substance (normally alcohol or drugs) has been added to a drink without your knowledge or agreement; this includes alcoholic drinks and soft drinks, even water. The practice of drink spiking is illegal, highly dangerous, and potentially deadly to the person who has been spiked.
During the party season cases of drink spiking can rise, especially in pubs and clubs but there are tips that can help keep you safe:
- Tell people where you are going
- Plan your journey home and try and stay with friends
- Know your limits.
- Know your surroundings, if you feel uncomfortable, leave
- Do not share or exchange drinks
- If you don’t know someone and they offer you a drink, say no
- Never leave drinks unattended
- Never finish someone else’s left over drink, (even if it’s a friends)
- If you feel drunk or weird after a drink or two, immediately seek help
As well as using these tips there are companies that supply drink protectors. The most common being Spiky, (look him up on the internet).
If you think you have been spiked, you should…
- Immediately tell a friend, staff member or the police
- Get to a place of safety
- Stay with friends until the effects have worn off
- If the effects are bad, seek medical help (it can help with prosecution too)
- If you fear you’ve had sex whilst under the influence of drugs taken unwillingly through a drink being spiked, report it!
Remember 999 for an emergency, 101 for a non emergency.
That’s all for now. Stay safe and have fun!
For further advice email PC Lee Cook on L.firstname.lastname@example.org
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