Youth and Alcohol Workshop

Youth and Alcohol Workshop

Below are some activities that could be used for exploring the issues around alcohol with young people. It would work well as an introductory session.

Agree or Disagree

This exercise looks at ideas and attitudes towards why people drink alcohol. Explain to the group that you are going to read a number of statements about alcohol. Label 1 end of the room ‘strongly agree’ and the other end ‘strongly disagree’. Work through 4 or 5 of the statements.

Tell the group to choose where to stand according to what they think about each statement. Afterwards, ask a range of young people why they chose to stand where they did and discuss with the whole group.

  • You shouldn’t drink alcohol if you’re under 16

(The government’s Chief Medical Officer recommends that children should not drink before they’re 15, if at all; 15-17 year olds should only drink when they’re supervised by a parent or other adult, and definitely no more than once a week)

  • Drinking makes you more attractive to the opposite sex

(Drinking can make you more confident – but there’s nothing very attractive about acting silly, falling over or being sick! Drinking is also bad for your skin and can make you put on weight. A pint of lager has 200 calories, the same as one glazed doughnut)

  • Drinking makes you more attractive to the opposite sex

(Alcohol is a depressant. In small doses alcohol can make you relaxed and happy. But too much of it increases anxiety and can make problems seem worse because it affects your judgement, sometimes leads to depression and has been linked to self-harm and suicide in young people)

  • Adverts, celebrities and the media glamorise alcohol

(Can you give examples? E.g. adverts that suggest drinking makes you funny, sexy, one of the lads etc)

  • The point of drinking alcohol is to get drunk

(It’s possible to have a good time without drinking. And it’s possible to enjoy a drink without getting drunk. You’ll probably have a much better time if you watch what you drink. Why do you think people want to get drunk?)

  •  Drinking when you’re young won’t affect your long-term health

(Drinking in under-18s can be dangerous to health. The Chief Medical Officer advises that not drinking is the healthiest option for young people. Teenagers who drink regularly are more likely to have a drinking problem later in life. They are more likely to develop liver disease and other medical complications of alcohol in early adult life)

  • If I don’t drink, my friends will think I’m a loser

(It’s important not to feel pressured to drink alcohol. Remember that you may think your friends are all drinking – but this might not be true. Why would friends say you’re a loser if you choose not to drink?)

  • You’re more likely to get into dangerous situations when you’re drunk

(Alcohol makes you more likely to take risks and do things you wouldn’t normally do. It’s a leading cause of accidents and is involved in nearly half of all violent incidents. Figures from the police say that 10-17 year olds who drink alcohol once a week are more likely to be involved in a criminal offence)

Activity 1: Party guests

Click here for the worksheet for this actvity: Alcohol Activity Worksheets

This activity looks at the way alcohol affects people’s behaviour and emotions. Explain that alcohol can make people behave in ways they wouldn’t when they are not drinking. Scientists say that this is because alcohol is a depressant that affects your judgement, and lowers your inhibitions.

Call 5 young people to the front. Explain that they are at a party where some of the guests will be drinking. Nominate 1 person as the host of the party, the rest are guests. Two of the guests are given a party card with details of how to act each time they have an alcoholic drink.

Set the Scene and ask the remaining participants to get involved in party activities, such as choosing music and chatting. After a minute ask the guests to mime their first drink and repeat until the nominated guests have had 5 drinks.

Discuss the Scene As a whole group, how did the guests behaviour change after they had each drink? How did the other guests feel? Was there anything they could have done at each stage to change the guests behaviour?

Activity 2:What Should They Do

Click here for the worksheet for this activity: Alcohol Activity Worksheets

Divide the participants into small groups and give them a copy of the worksheet. Encourage them to read through the scenarios and decide which the best course of action is.

Once completed bring groups back together to discuss their answers. What consequences might the different courses of action have? Does anybody have any better suggestions for how to act? Would people make the same decisions if they were drinking alcohol?

Summary

Ask the group to write down 3 things they have learnt from the session. If there is time, ask 3 or 4 people to share what they have learnt with the rest of the group.

Explain to the group that the best ways to stay safer when drinking are:

Know your limits Find out the alcohol content of your favourite drinks and work out your sensible limits.

Drink smarter
If you choose to drink alcohol, make sure you make room for soft drinks too. This will keep you hydrated and help you avoid drinking too much alcohol.

Eating before and during drinking
Eating snacks between drinks, or having a meal before you go out, will help slow down the absorption of alcohol to stop you feeling out of control.

Looking out for friends
Make sure your friends stay safe and they’ll do the same for you.

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