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In a survey carried out in Wales in 2001/2 it was reported that the proportion of young people aged 11 to 15 drinking alcohol on a weekly basis is much higher than most other European and North American countries. 58% of boys and 54% of girls aged 15 reported drinking alcohol on a weekly basis. (Statistics taken from Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HSBC) survey).
Alcohol is a chemical called Ethanol and is known as Booze, Drink, Sauce and Bevvy and it can be bought as Beer, Wine and spirits.
The effects of alcohol can include making you feel relaxed and sometimes sleepy, or it can make you feel excited and want to do things that you would not consider doing if you were sober. When you drink alcohol it will get into your blood stream in a few minutes but its effects can last for hours. Other effects can be a loss of balance, slurring your words and maybe blurred vision.
The risks from drinking alcohol especially when taken in excess, such as binge drinking on a regular basis can be serious to your health and safety. They include liver disease, ulcers, brain damage, dehydration that will affect your skin and attacks the stores of vitamins and minerals in your body which are needed for it to function properly.
Other effects can be to make you more likely to have an accident and be involved in crime.
Drinking alcohol sensibly when you are able to judge what you are drinking and control your actions will be considered socially acceptable as long as you are within the alcohol laws.(see below).
- If you are under 14 you are not allowed into a pub/bar unless it has a suitable licence.
- At 14 to16 you can go into a pub/bar but not drink alcohol
- At 16 to 17 you can buy or be bought beer or cider with a meal
- If you are under 18 you cannot buy alcohol anywhere unless it is as stated in the previous point.
- If you are over 18 it is illegal for you to buy alcohol for anyone under 18
- It is illegal to sell alcohol you have made at home
- Most places do not allow drinking on the streets