28th November 2013: As Christmas approaches FRANK chats about alcohol

The countdown to Christmas officially begins next week - unless you’re a supermarket, in which case you’ve been talking turkey since July. There are lots of Christmas traditions we all love and some we don’t: brussel sprouts; Cliff Richard; Dad dancing.

But what is the deal with drinking? You may have heard people chatting at school or watched scenes in your favourite soap. There is lots of information about alcohol out there which can get confusing. FRANK takes a moment to answer some of the big questions about booze.

Is there a safe amount of alcohol that you can drink?    
For young people – it is recommended that you don’t drink at all if you are under 15, as this can be especially harmful. At age 16 you can drink wine, beer or cider with a meal in a restaurant and the legal age that you can buy alcohol is 18. However, it's probably best to wait until you are over 18 to drink at all as alcohol is especially harmful when your body is still developing. For adults there are safe limits, 2-3 units for women and 3-4 for men per day however this doesn’t mean that it is safe to drink every day.

Does alcohol make you feel confident?               
Lots of people think that drinking looks fun and relaxing and will make them feel confident. But there are two sides to it – drinking isn’t all laughs. Although we don’t always talk about it much, drinking can cause all kinds of problems. Although drinking alcohol can make you feel more confident, it can also make you do things you wish you hadn't - things you can't undo.

I don’t want to drink but my friends all drink. What should I do?
It is ok not to drink and you should never feel pressurised into doing something you don't want to do. Less young people drink alcohol than you would think and remember your friends will respect you more for saying how you feel about drinking. Talking to your friends about the reasons you don't want to drink can help the situation and you may not be the only one who feels this way. Try arranging to meet them to do other things that don’t involve drinking.

Why is mixing drugs and alcohol dangerous?
By mixing drugs you increase the chances of having a bad time. The effects of the drugs might be greatly increased, the drugs might interact in an unexpected way or one drug may stop part of your body working properly which makes the other drug(s) that have been taken more dangerous.

FRANK has more information about alcohol and specific substances.

If you’ve got other questions about alcohol or are worried about someone else’s drinking then get in touch with FRANK on 0300 123 66 00.

FRANK News Published: 28th November 2013