Alcohol is found in drinks such as beer, lager,
cider, wine, alco pops and spirits (whisky, vodka, gin, rum). All alcoholic
drinks contain ethanol (pure alcohol). The strength, colour and taste
of alcoholic drinks depend upon the amount of ethanol and the ingredients
used, for example grapes, hops or grains.
Alcohol has no nutritional value but it is high in calories.
This is a simple saliva test to detect the presence of alcohol in saliva and so can provide an estimation of blood alcohol levels. This test can be of use if you want to know if you are safe to drive the morning after heavily drinking the night before.
For more information on the effects of alcohol click here.
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Alcoholic drinks come in different strengths and
are measured as a % by volume. The higher the % marked on the label
the stronger the drink will be. Alco pops often contain more alcohol
than many beers, lager or cider.
A unit is equivalent to 8gms or 10ml (1cl) of pure
alcohol. You can work out the exact number of units in a drink by multiplying
the volume of the drink in ml by the %A.B.V. (% of alcohol by volume)
and dividing it by 1000.
For example a 330ml can of lager with a 7% A.B.V.
is 330x7 divided by 1000 = 2.3units
The following measures of drink all contain one unit of pure alcohol:
Half a pint of ordinary strength lager/ beer/cider
(3.5-4%A.B.V.) = 1 unit
A 25ml pub measure of a spirit (40%A.B.V.) =
A small glass of wine (8-9%A.B.V.) = 1 unit
Other examples of units in different drinks:
A 125ml glass of wine at 11-12% A.B.V. contains
about 1.5 units.
A 330ml bottle of beer/lager/cider at 4-5% A.B.V.
contains about 1.5 units.
A 330ml bottle of an alco pop at 4 or 6% A.B.V.
contains 1.3 or 2 units respectively.
Remember drinks poured at home and parties are usually
far more generous than those in pubs and clubs.
Sensible drinking, how much is too much?
There are daily benchmarks set for adults as a guide
to how much they can drink, without putting their health at risk. These
benchmarks do not apply to young people who have not reached physical
maturity. The following benchmarks apply to any period of 24 hours when
you drink alcohol.
Women in general can't drink as much as a man, as they are smaller,
lighter and their bodies contain less water and they also tend to have
a different metabolism.
Guide for women: -
If you drink between 2-3 units a day or less, there
are no significant risks to your health. If, however, you regularly
drink 3-4 units or more a day there is an increasing risk to your health.
Women who are planning a pregnancy or are at any
stage in pregnancy should take special care and drink no more than 1-2
units once or twice a week. Alcohol consumption can reduce fertility and can affect the developing baby in the womb.
Guide for men: -
If you drink between 3-4 units per day or less there
are no significant risks to your health. If, however, you regularly
drink 4 or more units a day there is an increasing risk to your health.
Are there any health benefits of drinking alcohol?
For men over 40 and women who have
been through the menopause,
there can be health benefits from drinking 1-2 units a day. This is
because alcohol gives some protection against the development of coronary heart
disease and some strokes.
Alcohol influences the amount of cholesterol carried in the bloodstream and so makes it less likely that clots will
What are the effects of alcohol drinking?
Many people enjoy drinking alcohol and in small
amounts it can help you relax and feel more sociable. The effects of
alcohol on a person can vary, depending on the strength of the drink
and how fast it is consumed, when the person last ate, their weight,
mood and surroundings. Alcohol will start to affect the mind just 5
minutes after it has been swallowed.
When people have a lot to drink they become drunk,
their speech may become slurred, co-ordination
is affected and emotions are heightened. When people are under the influence
of alcohol they are more likely to take risks sexually and end up sleeping
with someone they wish they hadnt. Worse still by not using a
condom they can end up with a sexually
is what is experienced after a drinking session and it can last for
a day or even 2. A hangover can leave you with a headache, sickness,
depression and tiredness. After a long drinking session you should avoid
alcohol for 48 hours to give your body tissues time to recover.
An overdose can occur when you drink far too much,
it may cause alcoholic poisoning, you may lose consciousness and then
risk being sick and choking on your vomit.
Long-term over-use of alcohol can cause serious
damage to many of the body's organs e.g. the liver, heart and stomach.
There are more than 25,000 deaths a year in the U.K. that are drink
Mixing alcohol with other drugs (legal or illegal)
is very dangerous.
What is the legal drink drive limit?
The current legal limit for driving in the U.K.
is 80milligrams of alcohol per 100millitres of blood, 35 micrograms
of alcohol in 100 ml of breath or 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml
The legal drink drive limit can't be safely converted
into a certain number of units, as everyone absorbs alcohol into the
blood stream at different rates. However, an average man (12-13 stone)
should consume no more than 4 units and an average woman (9-10 stone)
should consume no more than 3 units. If you are particularly small or
have not eaten these figures should be reduced.
The only way to be sure you are not over the limit
is not to drink at all if you are going to drive. Any amount of alcohol
will affect your judgement, you will not be able to judge speed and
distance accurately and your ability to react may be severely affected.
Nearly 800 people in Britain die each year in road accidents involving
drivers who are over the current legal limit.
How long does it take for alcohol to be out of my system?
Providing you have a healthy liver,
it will take one hour for your liver to remove one unit of alcohol.
So if you drink heavily in the evening you may still be over the legal
drink drive limit the following morning. Only time can remove alcohol
from your blood stream - black coffee, cold showers and fresh air will
not sober you up. If you want to know if you still have alcohol in your
system try our alcohol test, click
here for more details or to buy.
Alcohol and children
Young people see alcohol all around them, in supermarkets,
off licenses, pubs, restaurants and on the T.V. They might also see
their parents drinking alcohol and this can make it very difficult for
them to see that misusing alcohol can be dangerous. Most children taste
their first alcoholic drink between the ages of 10 and 13 usually at
a family gathering such as a wedding. However, children still tend to
go off and experiment drinking alcohol with their friends and because
they are smaller they will be affected by alcohol much more quickly.
As a result, young people are more likely to have an accident or get
involved in a fight.
What to do in an emergency or if someone has drunk too much.
If you are with someone who has drunk too much,
do not leave them to sleep it off alone as there is a risk of them choking
on their own vomit. Make sure they sleep on their side and check regularly
that they are breathing.
If they become unconscious, phone 999 straight away,
place them in the recovery position (on their side), keep them warm
but not too hot, check their breathing and remain with them until the
Alcohol and the law
It is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the
age of 18, or for them to attempt to buy alcohol. The only exception
is for 16 or 17 year olds having a meal in a restaurant where they can
be bought a beer or cider, but not in a bar.
Police have the legal power to confiscate alcohol
from anyone they know to be, or believe to be under the age of 18 and
drinking in a public place.
This drug test will test for all the common drugs misused used in the UK.
ALL OPIATES (including Heroin and Morphine) COCAINE (including Crack and Coke) ECSTASY (including E’S and Methamphetamines) SPEED (including Whizz and all Amphetamines) PHENCYCLIDINE (including AngelDust)
ALL MARIJUANA (including Cannabis and Skunk)
For more information and to order these tests click here.