17/06/2019

Guidance Issued For Alcohol Awareness Week

Drinkers in Northern Ireland are being urged to take a closer look at their habits this Alcohol Awareness Week, 17-23 June.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Northern Ireland's five Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams (DACTs) are asking people to take stock, give themselves an "alcohol MOT" and be aware of the 14 unit per week limit.

Kelly Gilliland, Health Improvement Manager at the PHA, said: "Many of us enjoy a drink when at home or out with friends, but we need to be aware of the effect that alcohol can have on us and those around us particularly when we drink to excess.

"Over three-quarters of adults in Northern Ireland drink alcohol, but consuming too much can seriously affect our health. A good starting point is to look at how much you do drink, and the PHA website has an interactive alcohol MOT where you can check how many units you drink and its possible impact.

"The recommendation is that both men and women drink no more than 14 units per week and that its best to spread your units evenly over three days or more. You can't 'save up' your units for a particular day or a party."

Many people might use alcohol to relax, but, instead of helping us to cope, excess amounts can have an immediate and long-term negative impact on our lives.

Kelly continued: "In the short term, the undesirable effects of drinking too much can include symptoms such as vomiting and hangovers. However, more serious risks from drinking heavily can include, damage to vital organs, falls or accidents that can result in injury.
News Image
"Drinking too much can also affect our judgement, leading us to do things we wouldn't otherwise do and that we might regret later. These can include unplanned sexual activity, fertility, relationship difficulties, fighting, or spoiling events for you, your family and friends.

"It is therefore important that people start to understand their drinking behaviour and explore their relationship with alcohol.

"Small changes can make a big difference."

Alcohol Awareness Week top tips:

• Understand how much you’re drinking by taking the alcohol MOT

• Learn how many units are in your chosen drink – click 'a href= 'https://drugsandalcoholni.info/' target= '_blank'>here or download the 'Know Your Units' app;

• When drinking at home measure and track your alcohol intake by using one of our newly produced 'Know Your Units' cups

• Always look after yourself and know what your limits are

• Have something to eat before you start drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol

• Alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink, for example, water or a soft drink

• Take frequent five minute breaks from drinking to give your body time to recover

• Avoid drinking in rounds or having a kitty as this may result in you drinking more

• Keep track of your drinks and don't let anyone top up your drink until it's finished

• If a friend does drink too much, don't leave them alone or let them wander off, rather, encourage them to rehydrate with non-alcoholic drinks

• Never add drugs into the mix.

Further information, tips and advice during Alcohol Awareness Week can be found on the PHA and NIDACTS social media pages which include Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 November 2011
Doctors Continue Push For Minimum Booze Price
Northern Ireland doctors are continuing their campaign for a minimum price structure for alcohol.
24 November 2010
Belfast 'Binge' Linked To Heart Disease


Heavy drinking in Belfast could be behind NI's high rates of heart disease, according to a paper published on the medical website, bmj.com today.

 The study, which compares drinking patterns of middle aged men in France and Belfast, finds that the volume of alcohol consumed over a week in both countries is almost identical.
24 June 2016
Campaign Launches To Encourage Sensible Alcohol Consumption Over The Twelfth Period
A billboard campaign has launched to encourage sensible alcohol consumption during the Twelfth of July celebrations in Northern Ireland. Launched by Belfast Orangefest, County Grand Master George Chittick was joined at the billboard unveiling at Frenchpark Street by South Belfast MLA Emma Little Pengelly.
18 January 2012
One In 10 'Has Alcohol Problem'
According to recent research one in 10 people in Northern Ireland have an alcohol problem. The interview-based research revealed that 9% of participants were problem drinkers.
09 April 2015
Police Seize 'Concerning' Amounts Of Alcohol From Under-Age Drinkers
Police from the North Coast seized a large amount of alcohol from under-age drinkers on Easter Monday. The PSNI posted a picture of the haul on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. It included cider, beer and spirits. Police described the amount seized as "concerning".