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Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline

Freephone: 0808 808 2234
Or text DAN to: 81066


Ale, beer, booze, bevvy, drink, brandy, champagne, cider, rum, spirits, vodka, whiskey, wine, etc.

What does Alcohol look like?

Liquid of varying strength, from 2.8% (mild beer) to 40% (spirits). Ethanol is a solvent used in paints, perfumes & colognes, it is also used in marker pens and deodorants.


Scientific Names

Ethanol, Ethyl Alcohol

Generic Name


Effects Of Alcohol

Desired Effects:

Mild intoxication, relaxation, cheerfulness, sociability.


Dehydration, loss of coordination, slurred speech, disinhibition, visual disturbance, confusion.



Tolerance, Overdose, accidents (Drunk-Driving). Unconsciousness, Coma, death. If used during pregnancy it could damage the developing embryo (Foetal alcohol syndrome).


Dependence, Withdrawal symptoms, significant permanent damage to the brain and other organs (heart, liver, stomach) that can be fatal.

Reducing Harm

Information to help with Reducing Harm when using Alcohol

How does Alcohol work?

Psychoactive central nervous system Depressant, Sedative.

Legal status of Alcohol

No person may buy or attempt to buy intoxicating liquor for consumption in a bar by a person under the age of 18; ages 16-17 may purchase beer, port, cider or perry in an eating area on licensed premises; under 16's can go into a restaurant where alcohol is served and at licensee’s discretion may consume (but not purchase) alcohol bought by a parent or guardian as long as it is with a meal; under 14's can go into a pub with a children’s certificate, but must be with an adult and stay in the garden or family room; ages 5 and over may consume alcohol at home with adult supervision. The Licensing Act 2003 abolished the old system of permitted hours for the sale of alcohol, allowing potentially 24 hour opening, seven days a week. Altogether there are over 200,000 licensed premises in the UK. These fall into two main categories: ‘On’ Licences - authorising the sale of alcohol for consumption on and off the premises. These licences may be for beer, cider and wines or beer, cider, wines and spirits. On-licensed premises include pubs and clubs. 'Off’ Licences - authorising the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises. Again, these licences may be for beer, cider and wines or beer, cider, wines and spirits. Off-licensed premises include supermarkets.

How Is Alcohol Taken?

By mouth.


Pumps, bottles, glasses.

Medical uses of Alcohol

In the medical industry alcohol is used in antiseptic wipes and in most common antibacterial hand sanitiser gels.

Where does it come from?

Ethanol in its pure form is a volatile, flammable, colourless liquid. Ethanol can be produced from ethylene and used in the petrochemical industry, and it can be made by fermenting sugars with yeast for use in the alcoholic beverage industry. Alcoholic drinks are produced in distilleries and breweries throughout Britain and the world. Alcoholic drinks can be broadly split in to two groups: fermented and distilled. Fermented drinks include beers, wines and ciders; distilled beverages (spirits) are made by distilling fermented beverages and include whiskeys, brandies, rum, vodka and gin. Alcoholic drinks vary in strength (depending how much ethanol is added), they vary depending on what starting material has been used (grains, fruits etc), and also by what additional ingredients are added such as herbs or spices. It is estimated that there are over 170,000 licensed outlets such as public houses, bars, and shops in the UK alone.

Helping services

Most areas of the UK have alcohol services or community alcohol projects, these may be services that provide support for all types of drug problems including specialsit alcohol workers. They offer a range of services including information and advice, counselling, and sometimes support groups and complementary therapies such as acupuncture. Some services have extended working hours and may offer weekend support. If use of this substance becomes a problem you can seek help, advice and counselling from a service in your area. GPs can make referrals to specialist alcohol and drug services. Hospital based in-patient detoxification units and out-patient units are available for alcohol dependence. There are also community based Councils on Alcohol, Community Alcohol Teams and self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which is a 12 Step abstinence based support group.

Parents & other relatives

Many alcohol / drug agencies also provide lots of advice and support to parents, family members and partners of people using alcohol. They may provide relative support groups or advice, guidance and counselling on a one to one basis. Al-Anon is a support service for anyone who has been affected by someone elses drinking.

You can view a list of National Alcohol Agencies.

If you would like to talk about Alcohol problems then please call the DAN 24/7 Helpline on:

0808 808 2234