Partying is one of the great things about being young. And where’s there’s a party, there’s usually alcohol. If you’re of legal age, there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol now and then, and it can be fun. But drinking to the stage that you pass out, or puke, or can’t remember what you did, or find yourself waking up in a police cell or in bed next to a stranger, or missing work or school because you had a hangover from hell is not part of the fun.

And the good news is that following these simple tips can help you avoid all of the above while still having a great time:

  1. Eat a good meal first.
  2. Remain with your friends and plan how you will get home – never drink and drive.
  3. Pace yourself.
  4. Carry condoms.
  5. Choose your drink, and how you drink.
  6. Keep in mind that Red Bull, energy drinks or coffee won’t sober you up.
  7. Stay off Facebook and other social media.

1. Eat a good meal first and drink water between alcoholic drinks. Drinking on an empty stomach makes your blood alcohol level rise very quickly. Since it does no good to eat after you have begun drinking, eat first. High fat foods take longer to digest so if you think you may be drinking for the night, get a bucket of fried chicken or pizza. Consider spending as much on food as you do on alcohol. Have a really nice non-alcoholic drink as part of the plan.

2. Remain with your friends and always have someone with you when you leave the party or the pub. Even if you travel only in pairs you will be much safer. Thieves and sexual predators tend to target the intoxicated, and having another person around will discourage these unsavoury types from harassing you. Never drink and drive, just sayin’.

3. Pace yourself. Resist any pressure to catch up or keep up with everyone else who is drinking. Set a reasonable limit of how many total drinks you’ll have (no more than 1 an hour is ideal) and be sure to drink something non-alcoholic in between each one. Bingeing is not cool. It is harmful especially as it increases those risks associated with being intoxicated ie: suffering bad hangovers and killing off brain cells.

4. Carry condoms when you go drinking regardless of whether you are gay or straight, male or female. You may feel that you are not the type for a one night stand but alcohol has a way of loosening inhibitions and soon one thing can lead to another. Unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections are not worth the risk. Carry condoms, and use them! Be mindful it is difficult to make an informed choice if you are drunk.

5. Choose your drink, and how you drink as we know that shots, beer bongs, keg stands and speed drinking are present at lots of parties. And we also know that heaps of poor decisions are made after those activities. Drinking games are not compulsory and if you don’t wish to spend the rest of your night with your head down a toilet bowl, you are encouraged not to drink in that fashion. You can think about taking your own alcohol to the party – perhaps a low alcohol beer, or a wine or spirit to which you have already added water or a non-alcoholic beverage. And always buy quality, not quantity.

6. Coffee won’t sober you up and the idea that it will is pure myth. The body metabolises approximately one standard drink per hour for men, and for women up to two hours until the alcohol is out of your system. Drinking coffee may make you more awake, but you will still be drunk. Red Bull is a stimulant and alcohol a depressant….wow that is crazy……you won’t even know you are getting drunk….and your heart and breathing can stop.

7. Stay off Facebook and other social media, as using it to ask your friends to come to your party is not a good idea. Anything you place on Facebook immediately becomes public and you could find yourself inundated with unwanted guests and have no way to get rid of them. And you might seriously regret posting drunk photos over which you have no control once everybody starts sharing them around.