Is a sedative-depressant. Moderate amounts can relax you, make you feel more sociable - which is why many people choose to drink and enjoy drinking responsibly. But too much alcohol can drag you down and stop you thinking straight. You may throw up, lose control, and not be able to speak properly.

So what does alcohol do? We know that it affects self-control, making some people feel out of it even after one or two drinks.

Here are some effects alcohol has on your body:

•Can make you blackout and forget what happened the night before

•Can cause alcohol poisoning - when parts of your brain literally shut down, this can kill you

•Also, drinking can lead to risky behaviours, such as driving when you shouldn't, or having unsafe sex

Many people drink because they say it "solves their problems," but abusing alcohol actually causes more problems than it solves. Loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts are only some of alcohol's adverse affects. Drinking too much also makes interacting with people difficult, so work and family start to seem less important than they really are.

If you are drunk:

•Under 17 the police can take you home or if you want to, to a social welfare home

•17 or over the police can take you home

•At any age, if you can't or won't tell the police where you live, they can take you to a detox centre or temporary shelter. If no one can take you, the police can hold you for up to 12 hours until you're capable of looking after yourself.

ALAC, the Alcohol Advisory Council is here to provide Information, advice, research and resources to help prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm and inspire New Zealanders to make better decisions about drinking alcohol

ADANZ, Alcohol and Drug Help, is here to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand by minimising harm associated with alcohol and other drugs.

Smart Partying Strategies

  • Eat before you go out and while you party - eating slows the rate alcohol gets absorbed into your body
  • Start with a non-alcoholic drink and mix in non-alcoholic drinks throughout the night - ideally one non-alcoholic for one alcoholic
  • Pace yourself, spread your drinks over time, don't down them back to back like there's no tomorrow
  • Have lots of water while you are drinking and as much as you can stomach before you go to sleep, that way you'll avoid the dry horrors
  • If you're dancing you'll dry out faster, so keep up the water

A party can turn into a nightmare if you let alcohol affect your judgement.  Pace yourself, look out for your mates.  Make sure a trusted, sober friend is with you!   Make sure you have money for a taxi and a phone to call for help or a ride.

For a huge number of young people their first sexual experiences are when alcohol is around.  Often the hangovers last a lot longer than just the next morning.