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Time to think about drink...

It's Friday night and you've arranged to meet your friends in the park. They all say they are drinking alcohol, but are they?

It can be hard trying to fit in with friends and not giving in to pressure when it comes to alcohol, but research carried out with young people in Stockton-on-Tees said that the majority don't drink alcohol when socialising with friends, even if they say they do.

Drinking alcohol is a risky business and it can change the way you look, think and feel.



Look

Alcohol contains calories - one pint of lager is equivalent to a burger and one glass of wine has the calories of a piece of cake. Calories are not the only problem though; drinking can dehydrate your skin, cause dark circles under your eyes and lead to wrinkles and premature ageing.



Feel

Alcohol is a depressant; it slows down body reactions and the working of the brain. It can cause poor co-ordination, slurred speech and even double vision and loss of consciousness. Your mood affects the way alcohol makes you feel and if you already feel down, drinking alcohol can make you feel worse.



Think

Alcohol increases your confidence making you more likely to take risks. You're more likely to have an accident, have unprotected sex (which puts you at risk of STIs or an unintended pregnancy), get into a fight or get involved in antisocial or criminal activity (which could lead to arrest and a criminal record). Regular drinking can also cause brain damage, cancer, liver and heart disorders and impotence.

For more information on alcohol and its effects click here

If you're worried about alcohol, contact STASH, the young people's drug and alcohol service in Stockton. STASH is a confidential service with open, honest workers who are ready to listen and offer support, advice and information on alcohol issues.

For more information about STASH click here or phone (01642) 607028.