Drinkaware are appealing to parents to discuss their exam celebration plans with their young people as they collect their Leaving Cert exam results on Wednesday.  According to independent research commissioned by Drinkaware and carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes, parents are still the single strongest influence on young people’s decisions around alcohol.

While many students receiving their results may already be of legal age (18 years), this remains a high-risk time for binge drinking episodes. Drinkaware is urging any students who are planning to celebrate by binge drinking – six or more standard drinks (e.g. three pints of beer) consumed in one sitting – that this is dangerous and can significantly impact health and wellbeing now and in the future. Drinkaware provides support and advice for parents to help guide the conversation about alcohol with their young people including detailed information on the effects of alcohol.

Drinkaware Interim CEO, Miriam Taber said:

“We know that not all Leaving Cert celebrations will include alcohol, but it is important to have resources in place to support young people who choose to mark this achievement with or without alcohol. Drinkaware provide the kind of practical knowledge and advice everyone can apply to stay safe and be healthy. This can be a high-risk time for binge drinking episodes but we remind parents that they are the single strongest influence on their child’s decisions about alcohol. We are asking parents to discuss with their young people their plans for results night – find out who they will be with, if alcohol will be present and how they plan to get home.”

Drinkaware wants everyone who will be celebrating to stay safe and have the following advice for parents and guardians about how to have that conversation with their child if they are celebrating their Leaving Cert results:

  • The law is clear: It is against the law for anyone under the age of 18 to buy alcohol or pretend that they are over 18 in order to buy or drink alcohol.
  • Binge drinking is dangerous: Drinking at this level increases your risk of experiencing alcohol related harms including violence, accidents and long-term damage to your health.
  • Talk openly about their plans: Who is going? Where is it? How will they get home? Will alcohol be available? When is the curfew?
  • Set rules for the night together: You should both be fully aware of your rules in relation to alcohol. What are the consequences for breaking the rules?
  • Break the ‘norm’: The reality is that not every young person will drink alcohol on results night, even if they are of legal age.
  • Safety is key: Remind your young person that they can call or text you if they feel unsafe or unwell at any point during the night.

“The Leaving Cert results can be a highly stressful and emotional time for students. No matter how prepared students are, this can be a confusing time and talking to a trusted adult like a parent or guardian can help. It is important that students marking this achievement, especially those who are concerned with their results, do not use alcohol as a way to blow off steam; drinking to excess can have a serious impact on a young person’s physical and mental health. We would encourage parents to get involved in their children’s plans for celebrating this week, especially where alcohol is concerned.” Ms Taber concluded.