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Celebrating Your Leaving Cert Results – what to know about Alcohol

It’s Leaving Cert results night and you deserve to celebrate your hard work! Whether you drink alcohol or not, we have some advice to help keep you and your friends safe. But if you’re under 18, you shouldn’t drink alcohol at all.

Published: 31 August 2022

Celebrating Your Leaving Cert Results – what to know about Alcohol

It’s Leaving Cert results night and you deserve to celebrate your hard work! Whether you drink alcohol or not, we have some advice to help keep you and your friends safe. But if you’re under 18, you shouldn’t drink alcohol at all.

Keeping safe

Even if you’re not drinking alcohol, it’s important not to leave your drink unattended and not to accept any drinks from strangers. Stay with your friends and have a meeting point if one of you gets separated from the group.

Let your parents/ guardians know where you’re going and who with. Make sure your phone is fully charged so that you can contact family, friends or emergency services if something happens.

If one of your friends becomes drunk, it’s important you stay with them. Encourage them to drink water, get fresh air, get some food or to go home. If they pass out, ask staff in the venue you’re in for help.

If you’re not feeling good about your results

Not everyone who goes out celebrating may be happy with their Leaving Certificate results. Some people use alcohol to cope with difficult feelings, such as stress, disappointment and worry. But alcohol is a depressant so may not be the best idea for you if you are feeling down. Alcohol affects your brain’s happiness chemicals so you may feel good and happy while you’re drinking. But when the effect has worn off, it can create negative feelings, such as feeling anxious or down. Find better ways of managing these feelings at yourmentalhealth.ie

Make choices for you

Prepare for peer pressure. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol so what works for your friends might not work for you. Alcohol can have risky interactions with illegal drugs and some prescription medication. Look after yourself, and your friends, and make the best decision that suits how you want to celebrate, while staying safe.

How too much alcohol can affect your night

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and can affect your judgement. This can result in you doing things you wouldn’t usually do, which you might later regret. This can lead to situations where you or someone else may get hurt. The more you drink, the greater your chance of injury.

But how much is too much? Find out the recommended weekly low-risk alcohol guidelines.

Blackouts can happen when you drink too much or too quickly. During a blackout, you temporarily lose the ability to create new memories. The next day, there may be parts of the night that you won’t remember at all.

In contrast social media has a permanent memory. Things you do and say while drinking may be recorded by you or others. If you have drunk too much and your behaviour is out of character, this may be a source of embarrassment and upset for you into the future.

Tips for drinking less on a night out

If you decide to drink alcohol, there are some tips to help you manage the amount you consume and make sure you have a good night, with great memories.

  1. Eat well before you drink and don’t consume alcohol on an empty stomach.
  2. Go out later.
  3. Order smaller drinks – a glass rather than a bottle or pint, a single measure rather than a double.
  4. Pick lower strength drinks.
  5. Stay hydrated by having non-alcoholic or soft drinks for every second drink.
  6. Drink slowly – sip your drinks and wait until you've finished one before you order another.
  7. Avoid buying rounds. If you can’t, buy yourself a non-alcoholic drink when it’s your round.

Find more tips for drinking less and managing peer pressure.

For confidential information and support about alcohol, contact the free HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline at Freephone 1800 459 459 from Monday to Friday 9.30am and 5.30pm, or email helpline@hse.ie any time.