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Having a night out

Helping people make informed choices about alcohol.

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about alcohol - Having a night out

Having a night out

Drink sensibly and you'll enjoy yourself – and stay safe


  • Having a beer is great way to relax with friends

  • Drink plenty of water and eat food

  • Be careful not to put yourself or others at risk

  • Remember to plan how you'll get home before you set out

about alcohol - having a night out

Meeting up with friends for a beer is the perfect way to relax and have a great time. But there are just a few things that you should remember.

Be sensible

Drinking too much in one sitting can lead to serious health and social problems. These include:

  • Absenteeism or poor performance at work or at other commitments the next day

  • Brain or neurological damage

  • Alcohol poisoning

  • Heart or cardiovascular problems

  • Accidents, including car accidents

  • Risky behaviour

Be careful not to rationalise excessive drinking. For example, you shouldn't 'save up' your drinks over the course of a week and then have them all in one go.

about alcohol - having a night out

Add food and water to the mix

Drink slowly and be sure you don’t drink on an empty stomach. You should have plenty of water between drinks to avoid dehydration. These are good ways to slow down the absorption of alcohol.

Don't put yourself at risk

Alcohol is a depressant – it can affect your reason, judgement and coordination, and slows down your reaction time.

This means that if you drink to excess, you're putting yourself at risk. The results could be relatively minor – perhaps you might not realise that your jokes aren't going down too well – or it might lead to serious risky behaviour, such as unprotected sex.


Drinking alcohol is a matter of individual judgement and accountability. It's been a part of social life and celebrations around the world for thousands of years. Drinking sensibly means you can enjoy yourself – and stay safe.

An enjoyable and safe evening out begins with a little forward thinking. Start your evening with some food in your stomach, drink sensibly and plan in advance for a safe way home – never drink and drive.


  • Know your drinking limits

    It’s one thing to enjoy a few drinks and dance all night, quite another to drink too much and do something you regret. Drinking sensibly can be a part of a memorable evening. Drinking beyond your limits can lead to a night you’d rather forget – or a night you can't remember at all.

  • Have something to eat

    Enjoying a drink with a meal is not only a great way to share a special moment with friends, it’s also the best way to spread out your drinking and moderate your absorption of alcohol.

  • Book a taxi or nominate a driver

    Book a taxi or nominate a driver to stay sober before you leave for the party. Drinking and driving can be lethal. It’s also a crime. Don’t put yourself in a position where you may be tempted to try it.

  • Look out for your friends

    If you can see they've been drinking more than is good for them, a little friendly advice to switch to a non-alcohol drink might be enough to stop them from doing something they shouldn't. And, of course, if your friend has been drinking, don't let them drive. Provide them with a safe ride home instead, and be sure not to leave them alone when they get there.

  • Be sure a telephone is available

    Always bring a fully charged mobile phone with you. If you do not have your own phone, be sure that a telephone will be available in the event of an emergency.

  • Keep an eye on your glass

    It's very easy to lose track of how much you’ve had to drink if your glass is being topped up before you’ve had a chance to empty it.

about alcohol - having a night out


  • Get dehydrated

    Frantically drinking glass after glass of water at the kitchen sink when you get back from the party isn’t going to stop you getting a hangover if you’ve been drinking all evening. Alternating every alcohol drink you have during the evening with a glass of water or other soft drink, on the other hand, will prevent dehydration and make the night, and the morning after, much more enjoyable.

  • Drink from a communal, unattended container

    Punch bowls are lovely, but it's easy for others to slip something in while others are not looking. It is safest to drink from a can or bottle and keep a close eye on it.

  • Be pressured into drinking more than you want

    If you don't want to join in with a drinking game or drink more than you usually would; you don't have to, no matter how much pressure you're put under by your friends.

  • Forget that you won’t be your best if you have been drinking more than is good for you

    If you want to get to know somebody better or make new friends, you will be much more likely to make a good impression if you don’t overdo it. And you will remember what you talked about the next day.

  • Leave your drink unattended

    You never know who might be looking to put a little something extra in your glass. Or what that little something might do to you.

  • Forget to enjoy yourself!

    And remember that sensible consumption of alcohol has played an important role in social get-togethers around the world for thousands of years.

about alcohol - having a night out

Parties are great opportunities to relax and have a great time with friends.

Know your limits and drink responsibly. Plan ahead and be careful to take all precautions, especially those related to your safety, like watching your drink and arranging transport home.

It's fun to meet up with friends for a beer, but drinking to excess may compromise your safety

If you drink to excess on a night out, your judgement may become impaired and you may become less observant and unknowingly put yourself in a position of risk.

'Drink spiking'

Drink spiking is the illegal placement of a substance into a drink with the intention of causing harm to the drinker. 

Symptoms of drink spiking depend on the substance added to the drink. Signs that someone's drink has been spiked include disorientation, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting. Any drug can be used to spike a drink. One drug that is commonly used is flunitrazepham, also known as Rohypnol or the 'date rape' drug. To protect yourself against drink spiking, drink beer from a bottle or can – it's harder to drop a drug into a bottle or can. Also, never leave your drink unattended nor accept a drink directly from someone you don't know and trust and be cautious with communal, unattended punch bowls. If you begin to experience symptoms of drink spiking, ask a trusted friend or a responsible member of the establishment's management for help and immediately seek medical attention.

about alcohol - Having a night out


No one should have to endure unwanted aggression that may lead to abuse or violence. When having a night out, it's important to drink moderately so that you maintain control over yourself and are observant of your surroundings at all times. Heavy drinking increases a woman's risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault or other forms of violence.

a few suggestions

The following are a few suggestions to think about before meeting up with your friends:

  • Plan your night out in advance. Think about where you are meeting. You are more likely to drink moderately if you meet at a restaurant to enjoy a drink with a meal than if you meet at a packed, noisy bar

  • Have a plan for the end of the night. Carry numbers for reputable taxi companies. Don't get into unlicensed cabs. Another alternative is to have a designated driver, someone who you can depend on to not drink and drive

  • Try to travel in groups

  • Always carry a mobile phone

The best protection is to make sure you don't drink too much and avoid people you do not want to associate with. If someone is aggressive towards you, reply politely and walk away. When leaving an establishment, do not leave alone. It may be helpful to carry a personal alarm. And of course, never drink and drive – make other arrangements.

about alcohol - having a night out

Know your limits, drink responsibly and take precautions when having a night out. Keep an eye on your drink at all times, stick with your friends and, of course, don't drink and drive.

  • For people above legal drinking age onlyFor people above legal drinking age only
  • Don’t drink and driveDon’t drink and drive
  • Don’t drink while pregnantDon’t drink while pregnant