Frequently Asked Questions

1. What evidence is there to suggest that alcohol is closely linked to anti-social and criminal behaviour?

Young people who drink alcohol once a week or more commit a disproportionate volume of crime accounting for 37% of all offences reported by 10–17 year olds.


2. What advice can I give to my child who is about to go on a night out?

  • Eat before an evening out.
  • Plan how you are going to get home at the start of the evening.
  • Emphasise that they should not drink and drive or accept a lift from someone who has been drinking alcohol.
  • Remind them to always use licensed taxis.
  • Drink water regularly and/or pace yourself by drinking some soft drinks.
  • Stay with friends.
  • Do not mix alcohol with any drugs.
  • Drinking in rounds can make you drink more than you want – try to drink more slowly.


3. As a parent what advice can I offer my child in relation to drink spiking?

  • Do not leave your drink unattended.
  • Only accept a drink from a stranger if you watch it being served.
  • Ask bar staff to remove bottle tops in your presence.
  • Keep any bottles in your hand and use your thumb to cover the top.
  • If you feel ill or become disorientated, seek medical assistance from your friends, or staff at the venue you are in.

If your child has been a victim of drink spiking report it to the Police.


4. Why do young people start to abuse alcohol?

Possible reasons might be:

  • home environment
  • enjoyment
  • curiosity
  • to ease pain
  • natural rebellion
  • availability
  • cost
  • seeing parents who misuse drugs or suffer from mental illness
  • lack of parental nurturing
  • friendship with misusing peers.


5. In a bar there’s a standard glass of beer and a standard shot of whisky. Which glass contains the most alcohol?

Both contain a similar amount of alcohol.

Half a pint of beer (3.5% ABV) and a single spirits (40% ABV) both contain about 1 unit of alcohol.

The alcohol by volume of each type of drink varies - beer can range from 3.5–8% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Wine varies from 9–14.5%, meaning a 175ml glass of wine can contain between 1.5 and 3 units.

Spirits are mainly 40% – check the back label to keep track of your unit intake.

Drinks poured at home are often larger than standard drinks too.


6. What is the advised maximum intake of alcohol per day for healthy adults?

(A unit contains 8 grams of alcohol.)

Men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

This should be spread evenly over three days or more.


7. The effect of alcohol differs from person to person. What does this depend on?

The precise affect of alcohol varies from person to person. The amount you drink is of course an important factor, but not the only one. The difference in effect also depends on:

  • Your genetic make-up and general health.
  • Use of legal or illegal drugs.
  • Your gender, age, size and weight.
  • Whether you have eaten and how quickly you have drunk your drinks.
  • Whether you are tired or depressed.


8. What are some of the possible effects associated with alcohol use / misuse?

  • Cancer.
  • Liver disease.
  • Alcohol is a depressant drug – it slows down reactions.
  • Very large amounts can lead to loss of consciousness.
  • Large amounts result in slurred speech and loss of balance and co-ordination.
  • Even small amounts make people more relaxed and less inhibited.
  • It can make some people very aggressive and sometimes violent.
  • Effects start within 5-10 minutes and can last for several hours.
  • Appearing panicky or tense.
  • Being drowsy.
  • Strange eating patterns.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Skin problems / spots.
  • Unable to sleep.
  • Secretive behaviour.

Research shows that parental drinking habits do have an effect on their children.

Parents often ask:

9. Is it ok after a hard day at work if the first thing you I do is open a bottle of wine or beer?

Your child may see alcohol as an adult way to relieve stress or anxiety and think drinking would be a grown up way of coping with exam pressure or other difficulties in their life.


10. How important is it to try and stick to daily guidelines where alcohol is concerned and to avoid getting drunk in front of my child?

If you use alcohol to get drunk and don’t pay too much attention to the recommended guidelines your child may think that alcohol is for getting you drunk and that advice on recommended guidelines can just be ignored.


11. Why is it important in front of my child not to joke about getting drunk?

Your child may think that you approve of people getting drunk and doing silly things. They might also believe if you find it funny when people get drunk, you wouldn’t mind too much if they do it.


12. Do you ever ignore your own advice?

You have advised your child about the risks associated with drinking too much, but when it comes to your own drinking you ignore this advice. Your child think guidelines and boundaries around drinking aren’t important and needn’t be kept to.


13. What's the best way to reduce the effect of a hangover?

Drink water – it helps to rehydrate the body, but there is no cure.

There is nothing you can do to speed up the breakdown of alcohol in your body, or sober yourself up quickly. Don’t ever be tempted to think a coffee or cold shower will make you sober. Alcohol is a diuretic – it makes you dehydrated – so drinking plenty of water before bed and during the evening helps your body. Water, sleep and time are the best remedy.


14. How many 11–15 year olds in the UK regularly drink alcohol?

Only 18% or about two in every ten 11–15 year-olds in the UK regularly drink alcohol. This means about 80% or eight in ten don't drink regularly, or at all. Just 3% of 11 year olds drink weekly rising to 38% of 15 year olds, but 52% of 11–15 year olds have never had a whole drink.

Even though many young people have tried alcohol – legally at home with their parents or illegally with friends in public places most do not drink regularly, whatever they might say.

Only a very small minority drink a lot (14% of 15–16 year olds get drunk regularly). So, choosing not to drink is a good option and one chosen by many young people.


15. How many deaths does alcohol cause in Wales each year?

About 1000 and the number is rising.


16. How many referrals for treatment for alcohol misuse were there in Wales annually?

About 15,000. The estimated health service cost of alcohol-related chronic disease and alcohol-related acute incidents is between £70 and £80 million each year. 


17. Are alcoholic drinks low in calories? 

No! This is a myth.


18. Does drinking through a straw help you get drunk quicker?

No! Yet another myth!  


19. What is binge drinking and what are the consequences?

Binge drinking is when a person drinks more than 5 units of alcohol in one session.

There is no safe limit for alcohol consumption when you’re under 18. Young people are less well equipped to cope with the effects of alcohol, physically and emotionally. This is because the body and brain have not developed fully yet, and are more affected by alcohol than an adult’s would be.

Alcohol affects your co-ordination, balance and judgement and many young people every year end up with facial injuries or broken bones – or occasionally even serious disabilities. Approximately 20% of all admissions to hospital are linked to Alcohol. 22% of accidental deaths are alcohol related in the UK.

There is some evidence that, even a few days of binge drinking may start to kill off brain cells. This was previously thought only to happen with people who drank continuously for long periods of time.

Binge drinking can have a number of potential risks and consequences. These include:

  • Alcohol poisoning. Many young people die from alcohol poisoning as a result of binge drinking on the weekends.
  • Loud, argumentative and aggressive behaviour.
  • Risk taking behaviours which may result in unplanned unprotected sex which could lead to the transmission of STIs and/or pregnancy.
  • Unintentional injuries e.g. car crash, falls, burns, drowning, fire arm injuries, sexual assault and domestic violence, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. This may result in early death.
  • Liver disease. The liver can only process about 1 unit of alcohol an hour and there is no way to speed up this process. Until the liver has had time to oxidize all of the alcohol ingested, it keeps circulating through the bloodstream.
  • Possible long term drug use.

Remember, there is no safe limit for alcohol consumption when you’re under 18.