“This Northern Ireland Alcohol Awareness Week (20-26 June) people are being encouraged by the Public Health Agency (PHA) to take a closer look at their drinking habits and to give themselves an “alcohol audit”.
Four-fifths (81%) of adults here drink alcohol so the PHA and Northern Ireland’s five Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams (DACTs) are asking people to check how much they drink and look at the impact it could be having on their health and wellbeing.
Kevin Bailey, the PHA’s Regional Lead for Drugs and Alcohol said: “Many of us enjoy a drink, but we need to remember that alcohol is a powerful drug that can seriously damage your health, and also have a negative impact on those around you. More people were drinking at home during the pandemic and many have continued to do so. When at home it can be all too easy to pour that little bit extra or have ‘just one more drink’, so don’t wait, now is the time to pause and have a think about how much you drink.
“The UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines state that for both men and women to keep the risks from alcohol low, it’s safer to drink no more than 14 units a week. So it is time get to know how many units are in each drink.
“For example, a small glass of wine can be just over two units, and a measure of spirits can be around one and a half units. If you are pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.
“It’s also very important, if you drink as many as 14 units, to spread them out over three or more days and have several alcohol-free days a week.”
A useful way to track your units and assess how much you regularly drink is to use the Alcohol MOT tool on www.DrugsAndAlcoholNI.info/MOT