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Children/young people

Views on children and adolescent drinking vary by culture. But many researchers believe that because their bodies and particularly their brains are still developing, drinking, especially heavy drinking, can have long-term, negative consequences both physically and psychologically.

During adolescence, young people can be impulsive and emotional due to changing hormone levels, which in turn can affect judgement. The addition of alcohol can exacerbate these feelings with dangerous results.

Almost every country has age limits for the purchase of alcohol (legal purchase age, or LPA) and/or for its consumption (legal drinking age, or LDA) to protect children from harm. The LPA and LDA for the UK is 18 with some exceptions – find out the particulars on LPA and/or LDA for the UK here . It is important to be aware of these age limits, since underage drinking or purchasing of alcohol is illegal and can carry harsh penalties including jail time.


The body’s ability to process alcohol slows down with age and a smaller amount of alcohol can potentially have a greater impact than before, particularly if the person is also taking certain medications. As such, it is important to reassess your alcohol consumption from time to time and to discuss it with your GP or healthcare provider if you have questions.

The elderly

As people get older, the amount of water in their bodies declines and so does the amount of blood in their system. Because of this, elderly people will reach higher levels of BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) more quickly than they once did and a smaller amount of alcohol can have a more pronounced impact than it did previously.

Elderly people are statistically more likely to be taking medication, and need to be aware that mixing these with alcohol may change or counteract their effects. Always check with a GP or healthcare provider if you have questions.


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