As people get ready to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging anyone who chooses to drink to keep an eye on their alcohol intake, emphasising the dangers of binge drinking and the effects that excess alcohol can have on our health and our safety.
The PHA’s Drugs and Alcohol lead Michael Owen said: “A lot of people will be making plans to meet up with their friends and family tomorrow to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and we are encouraging them to keep an eye on their alcohol intake should they choose to drink.
“New alcohol guidelines launched last year recommend that both men and women drink no more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level. If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more – you can't ‘save up’ your units for a particular day or a party.
“Binge drinking can have a major impact on health such as causing damage to the liver, heart, brain and stomach. Overindulging in alcohol can also spoil the holiday for you, your family and friends.”
If you do decide to drink alcohol over the over the St Patrick’s Day holiday, try to follow these simple tips:
• 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, encourage them to re-hydrate with non-alcoholic drinks, stick together and plan how to get home in advance.
“Remember you don’t need alcohol to have a good time, but if you do decide to drink, know your limits,” concluded Michael.
For further information about alcohol limits visit www.knowyourlimits.info
If you think you might have a problem with alcohol and/ or drugs and would like to get help please visit www.drugsandalcoholni.info for information on support services near you. There is also a range of services available to you if you are affected by someone else’s drinking and/or drug misuse, information on these services are also available on this website. These services are available to you regardless of whether or not your loved one is receiving help for his or her alcohol and/ or drug problem.