Safer drinking

Now that national restrictions have lifted in England, we can all enjoy a more active social life – but when you do, remember to drink safely and keep an eye on your alcohol intake. Here are some simple steps to help you stay safe when you’re out:

  • If you’re heading out to a pub or bar, plan your transport in advance or appoint a designated driver. Never be tempted to drink and drive, and do not get in a car with a driver who has been drinking. You do not have to feel or appear ‘drunk’ to be over the limit – read about alcohol and the law.
  • Try to keep track of how much you are drinking. You can do this by planning a ‘drinks budget’ or using tips and trackers. Take a look at DrinkAware’s free tools and trackers to help you do this on the move.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water
  • Drink slowly – don’t rush to drink as much as you can in one session
  • Avoid binge-drinking

Try not to binge

‘Binge drinking’ usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time, or ‘drinking to get drunk’. It’s not easy to officially define but researchers understand bingeing as consuming more than eight units of alcohol in a single session. That’s just over three pints of 4% strength beer. Binge drinking is slightly different from other kinds of alcohol misuse but it’s just as harmful. Many people who occasionally binge – either at home or with others – self-describe as “social drinkers” and do not think they have a problem with alcohol. But whether you’re drinking more at home or enjoying a post-lockdown pint, it’s always beneficial to keep track of your drinking. If you want to know whether your drinking to safe levels, try the Drinkaware Self-Assessment tool.

To reduce your risk of binge-drinking:

  • Spread your alcohol units evenly throughout the week – don’t save them up and binge at the weekend
  • If you’re drinking with friends, don’t give in to peer pressure – only drink as much as you choose to
  • Drink more slowly, alternate drinks with water and drink with food
  • Avoid risky places and activities; make sure you are with people that you know and that you know how to get home safely

Health risks

Drinking too much, too quickly on a single occasion can increase your risk of:

  • alcohol-related accidents and injuries, including falls
  • misjudging risky situations
  • losing self-control, like having unprotected sex
  • leave you vulnerable and impair your ability to make decisions
  • becoming involved in an aggressive incident
  • becoming less able to look after yourself or others
  • becoming confused and disorientated very quickly