Students and Parents encouraged to discuss safe celebrations

56% of adults say they typically consume 5 standard drinks or less on a night out

Leaving Certificate results are due out, however the HSE are saying that alcohol does not necessarily have to go hand in hand with celebrations.

More and more young people are now choosing not to drink alcohol for the health gains it brings.

The HSE is advising young people under 18 years to avoid alcohol altogether. If you do choose to drink, the advice is to plan ahead, monitor and minimise alcohol intake, and stay safe and avoid drugs.

The HSE is also advising parents to have a brief focused conversation about personal safety and alcohol and drug use with young people prior to their exam celebrations. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol so the advice to young people is to make the best decision that suits how they want to celebrate, while staying safe.

The Irish National Drug and Alcohol Survey 2019-2020 found that 72% of 15-34 year olds said they are current drinkers (consumed alcohol in the last month). Many had a low risk drinking pattern, with 56% of these saying they typically consumed 5 standard drinks or less on a night out (one standard drink is a half pint of beer, small glass of wine, or pub measure of spirits) (Mongan, Millar & Galvin, 2021).

Dr Bobby Smyth, HSE Adolescent Addiction Psychiatrist, has this message for young people: “Whether going to a party, pub or club, be aware to pace yourself. A single cocktail, for example, can contain up to 3 standard drinks. This takes a full 3 hours for your body to break down, so it’s easy to see how we can overdo it quite quickly. Taking water breaks between drinks is a big help, and eating before and during a day/night out is also crucial. If you’re starting to feel loss of control, it’s time to stop drinking alcohol.”

As always,they say it’s important to look after your friends too. “Don’t let someone go off on their own if they’re drunk or high, in case of an accident, or getting into an unsafe situation. Try to stay in groups of at least three, and make sure you check where your friends are if someone seems to be missing.”

Dr Smyth also had this message for parents/

“Encourage your son/daughter to seek help from a trustworthy adult nearby if they are worried about a friend, or indeed about themselves. If someone is unconscious or behaving very strangely, e.g. overheating, panicking, or having an epileptic-type seizure, it is time to call an ambulance.”

Have a safe and enjoyable celebration, one to remember for all the right reasons. provides supports for parents and young people including advice, facts and resources to help stay safe and be smart around alcohol. These include information about Alcohol and Health and tips for parents when communicating with young people.