Ahead of Leaving Cert Results announcement

 Ahead of Leaving Cert Results announcement:

Students and Parents encouraged to discuss and plan ahead for safe celebrations 

HSE expert are available for interview

Today, (Friday, 2 of September) Leaving Certificate results are due out. These results are hard earned - after some especially challenging years for this year’s cohort - having studied throughout the Covid pandemic. Many will want to celebrate with friends and family, and rightly so. However, alcohol does not necessarily have to go hand in hand with celebrations.

More and more young people are now choosing not to drink alcohol for the health gains it brings. HSE advises that young people under 18yrs should avoid alcohol altogether. If you choose to drink, HSE advice is to plan ahead, monitor and minimise your alcohol intake and stay safe and avoid drugs.

The HSE is also advising parents to have a brief focused conversation about personal safety and alcohol and drug use with young people prior to their exam celebrations. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol so the advice to young people is to make the best decision that suits how they want to celebrate, while staying safe.

Dr Bobby Smyth, HSE Adolescent Addiction Psychiatrist, has this message for young people;

“Whether going to a party, pub or club, be aware to pace yourself. A single cocktail, for example, can contain up to 3 standard drinks. This takes a full 3 hours for your body to break down, so it’s easy to see how we can overdo it quite quickly. Taking water breaks between drinks is a big help, and eating before and during a day/night out is also crucial. If you’re starting to feel loss of control, it’s time to stop drinking alcohol.

“As always, it’s important to look after your friends. Don’t let someone go off on their own if they’re drunk or high, in case of an accident, or getting into an unsafe situation. Try to stay in groups of at least three, and make sure you check where your friends are if someone seems to be missing.”

Dr Smyth also had this message for parents;

“Encourage your son/daughter to seek help from a trustworthy adult nearby if they are worried about a friend, or indeed about themselves. If someone is unconscious or behaving very strangely, e.g. overheating, panicking, or having an epileptic-type seizure, it is time to call an ambulance.”

Have a safe and enjoyable celebration, one to remember for all the right reasons.

AskAboutAlcohol.ie provides supports for parents and young people including advice, facts and resources to help stay safe and be smart around alcohol. These include information about Alcohol and Health and tips for parents when communicating with young people.


The Irish National Drug and Alcohol Survey 2019-2020 found that 72% of 15-34 year olds said they are current drinkers (consumed alcohol in the last month). Many had a low risk drinking pattern, with 56% of these saying they typically consumed 5 standard drinks or less on a night out (one standard drink is a half pint of beer, small glass of wine, or pub measure of spirits) (Mongan, Millar & Galvin, 2021).


Issued by HSE Press Office


Spokespersons available upon request

For further information:


Contact the Alcohol and Drugs Helpline on 1800 459 459 from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Email helpline@hse.ie Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

For information on other drugs visit www.drugs.ie 

Useful Links:

The HSE has created a blog with tips on how to celebrate your Leaving Cert Results safely

Supports for students who are feeling anxious, overwhelmed or down about their results can be found HERE

Notes to Editor:

Celebrating Your Leaving Cert Results – what to know about Alcohol

It is Leaving Cert results night and you deserve to celebrate your hard work! You might decide that you’re going to celebrate with alcohol but there are some things to consider before you decide if you want to

How alcohol affects your behaviour

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which can result in you doing things you usually wouldn’t do. While some people think this will give them more confidence, it can also mean that you might do something you later regret.

You might find yourself in different scenarios than you’re used to. Alcohol affects your judgement, and if your inhibitions are reduced, you’re more likely to take risks. This can lead to dangerous situations where you or someone else may get hurt. More than 1 in 4 people attending emergency departments have alcohol‑related injuries. The more you drink, the greater your chances of injury.

Blackouts can happen when you’re drunk. This 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.

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 more information visit 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.


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.

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.

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.



10 Tips for Parents:

  1. Know the facts about alcohol and young people – Understand why teens drink and know the risks. There are very good reasons why young people shouldn’t drink. Your child will respond better to facts than vague warnings.
  2. Let them know your values and what you expect – Give a clear message that you don’t approve of underage drinking: “I don’t want you to drink until you are older” and explain why. Using some facts about underage drinking can help you to explain why you feel this way.
  3. Make sure they hear that you care about them – While your teen may not like your rules, deep down, no teen is unhappy to know that their parents care enough to keep them safe.
  4. Challenge ‘normal’ drinking – “Everyone drinks”  “We all went through this phase”  “It’s part of having fun”. It can be hard to argue against the strong messages children get from the media, marketing messages, their friends and from what they see around them. You can feel like a lone voice in the crowd. But drinking alcohol puts young people at risk in lots of different ways. Don’t miss the opportunity to teach your kids about the downsides of drinking.
  5. Keep a close relationship with your child – It can be hard to find ways to stay close to your child as they grow older, but it’s important to try and keep a close relationship. Spend time with them – even being in the same room can help. Look out for moments when your child is willing to talk - during a car journey, over dinner, while watching TV – and give them your full attention. In a study of 400 adolescents, parent involvement and adolescents’ positive regard for their parents were related to less smoking and drinking.¹
  6. Be the uncool parent – You might understand why your child is drinking - you probably drank or got drunk yourself when you were their age. But the evidence shows that the best way to keep your child safe is to check what your child is doing and to give a clear message of disapproval about underage drinking. It may make you unpopular, but while they are still developing, it’s best to help them avoid drinking situations.
  7. Don’t give your child alcohol – Some parents believe that giving their child some wine during dinner or a limited amount of alcohol to drink at a party will help them to become responsible drinkers. In fact, research suggests that children who are supplied alcohol by their parents may drink more, as they feel they have ‘permission’ to drink and are more likely to drink in a harmful way.²
  8. Have rules and boundaries – Make sure your child knows what you expect and what will happen if they break the rules. Rules will probably work better if you explain to your child why they are needed and ideally get their agreement. Our Guide to setting rules around alcohol can help.
  9. Set a good example – “Children who see their parents drunk are more likely to get drunk, drink underage and binge drink.”
  • Be conscious of staying within the weekly guidelines and keep your drinking away from your children.
  • Avoid drinking at home before going out socially.
  • Don’t let them see you drunk.
  • Be aware of the messages you are giving about alcohol - don’t laugh about drunken exploits and hangovers in front of them or say things that reinforce the idea that drinking is the best way to relax, handle stress, take time out or enjoy yourself.

10. Keep an eye on your child – Knowing where your child is, what they are doing and who they are with is important. Research has found that young people who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use alcohol or drugs. They are also more likely to begin drinking at a younger age, tend to drink more and are more likely to develop harmful drinking patterns.Get to know their friends, check that they are where they say they are, insist they keep their phone on and charged, be available to collect them. Watch how much money they have, look for signs that they may be drinking – like taking rucksacks to parties or drink going missing from your home.

Last updated on: 02 / 09 / 2022