Alere is now Abbott



Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, slowing down the body's responses in all kinds of ways. Alcohol is metabolised by the liver, but when too much alcohol enters the body the liver is unable to process it fast enough, and the levels in the bloodstream continue to rise resulting in alcoholic intoxication. Alcohol is a popular recreational drug that initially makes people feel more sociable but taken in excessive quantities will lead to a state of being drunk. Sufficiently high levels of alcohol in the bloodstream will lead to coma and respiratory arrest.

It is legal for those aged 18 and over to buy and drink alcohol.  There are official guidelines on alcohol consumption, it is recommended that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day and women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day. After a heavy drinking session the advice is to avoid alcohol for 48 hours to allow the body to recover.

Alcohol is available in varying concentrations; beer 3-6%, lager 4-9%, cider 4-8%, wine 11-14%, fortified wine 18-20%, clear spirits 37.5% and dark spirits 40%.


Eating and drinking

Alcohol is consumed in a wide range of foods and beverages.

  • Lowering of inhibitions
  • Relief of tension and anxiety
  • Slurred speech
  • Reddened eye
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sluggish response to light
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of full control of bodily movements
  • Increase in pulse rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Chronic misuse
  • Dependence
  • Hypertension
  • Oesophagitis
  • Gastritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Carcinoma
Glasses of alcohol


Molecular structure of ethanol

Street Names

booze, hooch, tipple, night cap, juice, hard stuff, liquor, sauce

Legal Status

Can only be bought by adults aged 18 or over

Drink drive limit of 80mg/100ml in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Drink drive limit of 50mg/100ml in Scotland.