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Know your limits
UK Chief Medical Officers recommend adults do not regularly exceed:
- Men: 3 – 4 units daily
- Women 2 -3 units daily
- Pregnant Women should avoid alcohol altogether
1 unit of alcohol is:
- Standard Beer Alc. 4% vol. 250ml
- Standard Wine Alc. 13% vol. 76ml
- Standard Cider Alc. 4.5% vol. 218ml
- Standard Alcopop Alc. 4% vol. 250ml
- Standard Whiskey Alc. 40% vol. 25ml
For more information visit www.drinkaware.co.uk
Responsible drinking advice
If you wish to drink sensibly then stick to the Government’s advice above. The following information is NOT a health guide! It is a set of advice designed to keep you safe from harm (or doing harm to others) on a night out.
According to data from Cumbria Constabulary (August 2015) 46% of reported incidents of violence with injury were alcohol related. By ‘related’ this can mean either it was the perpetrator or victim or both who had had too much to drink. People who have been drinking, particularly to excess, are also more likely to accidentally injure themselves or others.
- Eat before you go out: Having a good meal and snacking between drinks can help slow down the absorption of alcohol, helping you to stay in control. An early restaurant meal without alcohol before going to the pub or club will help you keep within the government's recommended limits. A full stomach of food can help you drink less.
- Never drink and drive: Taking turns to be the designated driver is a good idea. If you think you will be drinking then always take a taxi or public transport. Remember too that if you are very drunk a taxi driver may decline to take you home
- Don’t start too soon: Drinking before you go out or drinking too much in the pub before going onto a nightclub could mean that the security won’t let you in, ruining your evening before it really gets started!
- Beware of rounds: Drinking in rounds often means keeping pace with the fastest drinker in your group and a nightmare if you’re trying to cut down on alcohol. Stay in control (and save cash) by opting for smaller rounds with only a couple of friends within your group or giving rounds a miss. Agree this with a couple of friends at the beginning of the evening and don’t be worried about saying that you can’t keep up with the one who drinks like a drain
- Size matters: Make the daily unit guidelines go further by having bottles of beer or halves instead of pints and choosing a smaller glass for your wine. Buying spritzers or shandies will also help. A pint of shandy is often a saviour on a late night out. With a pint in the hand you will not feel like the odd one out and you can enjoy yourself just as much.)
- Pace yourself: Sipping a soft drink between alcoholic drinks slows down the rate of your drinking and helps prevent dehydration. If you’re out in the strong sun drink plenty of water. Opt for a non-alcoholic alternative, soft drink or even a glass of water for a change.
- Remember the evening or event: Drinking to a sensible limit leaves you in control and you’ll have free recall of the events the following day. Drinking to excess can make you unpopular amongst your friends and the new people you might meet, and has a tendency to wipe your memory of the behaviour that led to your unpopularity. Not at all cool!
Some additional advice
- To prevent your drink from being spiked with drugs or strong alcohols don’t leave it unattended, even for a few seconds. Finish your drink first if you’re going to use the dance floor or go outside. Take it with you to the toilet *
- Think very carefully before you accept a drink from someone you don’t know and refuse any drinks that have been bought for you by someone you don’t know, which you have not seen poured or opened (especially the drink bought by the sort of guy who sits at the bar and has a drink delivered to your table)
- If you feel uneasy about someone who wishes to buy you a drink, trust your instincts and politely refuse
- Don’t share or swap drinks, even with your friends, as you may not know what’s in it
- Drink from the bottle if you can and consider using a ‘Spikey’ and straw, which makes it exceedingly difficult to spike your drink**
- If you feel unwell after only consuming one or two drinks tell your friends and make arrangements to safely return home. Ask your friends to inform the management of the venue in case somebody is spiking drinks.
- If a friend’s had too much to drink make sure they get home safely
* Spikies are brightly coloured ‘use once only’ plastic stoppers that glow under UV light so everyone can see that your drink has been protected. Once inserted into a bottle they are very difficult to remove. A hole in the stopper is just big enough to insert a straw and once inserted are difficult to tamper with. Many Student Union bars and some nightclubs provide them for free.
Visit Spikey.co.uk for further information:
** From the Roofie Foundation: Drinks can be spiked with controlled drugs such as Rohypnol that can cause paralysis and memory loss and GHB, which can cause dizziness, confusion and also memory loss. Drinks can also be spiked with other alcoholic drinks such as vodka.
Unfortunately, due to lack of commercial funding and the demise of Legal Aid, from Jan 20th 2014 The Roofie Foundation has ceased to operate. They would like to thank everyone who helped them establish the Foundation as one of Britain’s leading organisations that dealt with the issues and helped to support the victims of Drug Related Sexual Abuse. They would also like to thank many members of the press & media who helped to create the public awareness of the issues from 1995 onwards.
Updated August 2015