Alcohol, drugs and legal highs
How alcohol affects your health
Alcohol can lead to health problems if you drink a lot on a regular basis. Here are a few ways in which this can happen:
- Alcohol poisoning: if you drink a lot of alcohol in a short space of time, it can cause alcohol poisoning, which can affect your ability to speak and move
- Accidents and injury: alcohol affects your ability to control your body movements, so if you have a lot to drink, you’re more likely to have accidents or hurt yourself. It also affects your judgement which can lead to you taking risks you wouldn’t normally take, like having unprotected sex, getting into fights or getting into trouble with the police.
- Diseases: drinking alcohol regularly increases the risk of liver disease. Alcohol has been linked to higher risks of different types of cancers and heart disease. Alcohol can also increase your risk of getting diabetes, this is because of the sugars present in alcoholic drinks. Cutting down your alcohol intake can reduce your risk of getting these diseases.
3 ways to deal with alcohol related peer pressure
Peer pressure is when friends try to make you do things you don't feel comfortable with.
- If you don't want to drink, then don't: you are in control of your body and can choose what you do or don't do.
- If it makes you feel better, give them a reason: you could say that you don’t feel very well, you’ve got to be up early in the morning or that you don’t want a hangover the next day!
- Use a decoy: have a soft drink in your hand already so your friends presume you already have a drink.
Three things to remember to keep yourself safe when drinking alcohol
- Don’t leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers in case someone adds something to it that you don’t know about
- Look after yourself and your friends – be aware of your surroundings
- If a person is ‘drunk’, they are not legally able to give consent to engage in sexual activity
FRANK helps you find out everything you might want to know about drugs (and some stuff you don't). Find out about the highs, the lows and everything in between. Read the facts around alcohol, including what’s legal, the effects and tips for cutting down. For friendly, confidential advice, Talk to FRANK
Listening to people with the same problems as you can help you feel less alone. On healthtalk.org, you can find out about drugs and alcohol by listening to young people share their personal stories on film. Their researchers talked to 33 young people to find out what they had to say about everything from trying cannabis for the first time to dealing with addiction or cutting down on alcohol use. Check out these videos, and thousands of others on a broad range of health topics, at HealthTalk.