Outer Hebrides Alcohol and Drug Partnership Summer Safety Campaign
The Outer Hebrides Alcohol & Drug Partnership wants to help everyone stay safe, have a good time and be free from harm so here is some advice to ensure you do!
Summer season in the Outer Hebrides is a busy time for catching up with friends and enjoy the many festivals and events that are held across the islands. Be mindful when you are out, if you intend to drink alcohol that you are aware of the number of units you have.
Across Scotland, there were 1245 Alcohol Specific Deaths in 2021, with 67% males and 33% females and 33,015 alcohol related admissions.
The Scottish Government recommend that men or women should not regularly drink more than 14 units per week – the equivalent of six pints of beer or six glasses of wine or 14 shots of spirits. Make sure you spread your drinking over 3 or more days with at least 3 alcohol free days. An easy way to keep track of your alcohol consumption is to visit the Drinkaware website at www.drinkaware.co.uk where you can download the ‘Track and Calculate Units App’ or check out the drinks calculator on the new Scottish Government’s site https://www.count14.scot/
To reduce the number of units you drink when you are out, avoid double measures, swap high strength beers, wines and ciders for low strength, and remember to drink water to keep rehydrated but make sure you don’t take too much as this can also have a negative effect on your health and try to have a meal before you start drinking.
When you are on a night out agree a meeting point in case you get split up from your friends. Ways to keep safe if you are drinking, or even if you decide to stay sober is to look after each other. Mixing different alcohol drinks and drugs can lead to a very bad reaction. If you prefer not to drink, that’s good and it’s okay for you to say so and don’t be swayed by peer pressure. Your friends should understand and respect your decision. If someone feels they want to leave early, make sure they ring you when they arrive home. Before you leave the house make sure you have enough money to get home.
If you are driving, stop and think before you get behind that wheel that you could be risking the safety of yourself and others. The current drink drive limit is low, at only 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath). So having just one drink could put you over the limit. Being caught the night before or the morning after can result in a criminal record and even a sentence which could affect your job, future employment opportunities and can have wider implications in your life.
When you are out be alert to ‘spiking’, where a person gives alcohol or drugs to someone without their consent. This could be done by buying double measures or piling someone with drink when they are already under the influence. Signs to look out for include confusion, loss of co-ordination, slurred speech, and vomiting. If you suspect you or someone you know has been spiked alert the venue manager, and don’t leave the person alone. Monitor them and if they deteriorate, please call an ambulance, or take them to the nearest Emergency Department.
If you notice that one of your friends or for that matter anyone who may be on their own and has become unwell through possibly having taken too much alcohol, and you are concerned for them, it is important that you seek help right away. If someone falls unconscious it is vital that you put them in the recovery position.
If there is a possibility you could be pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink. To reduce any harm to you or your unborn baby, avoid alcohol completely.
On the day after, let your body recover. Eat plenty food, make sure you sleep, avoid any more alcohol, and make sure your body is completely free from substances before your get behind the wheel.
Alcohol misuse is a major public health issue and can cause high levels of harm to individuals, their families and relationships and the wider community. If you are worried about your own, a friend or family member’s alcohol use there are a number of online sites as well as local services that can provide information and support, help lines and forums: