Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Young drinkers 'rely' on alcohol

Drunk woman
Party-goers are urged to be careful about how much they plan to drink

Nearly half of young people feel they have to drink to enjoy their office party, a survey suggests.

A total of 43% of 18-24 year-olds said they needed to drink, according to the findings of Know Your Limits - a government alcohol awareness campaign.

But 76% of those aged 45-54 polled said they would be fine without a drink at the office party, the research found.

The YouGov survey was carried out online among 1,429 adults in England who drink alcohol.

A total of 45% of those aged 25-34 year-old, who responded to the survey, said they would rely on alcohol during the work party but this dropped to 32% when it came to 34-44 year-old age group.

'Good time'

And just 13% of those aged 55 said they would need to drink during the office festivities.

The campaign is a joint Department of Health and Home Office venture, which aims to help people understand the units in the drinks they consume.

The survey found 28% of drinkers overall believe they would need to rely on alcohol in order to have a good time during the festive season.

The NHS recommended daily limits of alcohol is two-three units for women and three-four units for men.

Health expert Liz Tucker, from Know Your Limits, said: "While it may be the 'season to be merry', you should think carefully before overdoing it this Christmas.

"Not just for the benefit of your health, but for your reputation among your friends and colleagues as well.

'Too easy'

"Drinking alcohol may appear to give you the confidence boost you need but those around you may see things differently. "You can all too easily become over confident, and say or do things you wouldn't do when sober."

However campaigners say people have to be careful about how much they drink throughout the year - and not just at Christmas.

The poll found one in five (20%) also say they need to drink alcohol to get through social occasions generally and 23% say they drink regularly at after-work gatherings.

Drinkaware is an organisation that raises awareness about alcohol, health issues, legislation and drinking.

Its chief executive, Chris Sorek, said: "It's all too easy to drink too much during the festive season.

"By distributing tip cards in pubs and licensed taxis, and at rugby matches, we hope to offer practical guidance to consumers who want to have a merry - and memorable - Christmas."

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