Northern Ireland

A level results: Students warned about alcohol and drugs

Young person drinking from beer bottle Image copyright PA
Image caption The PHA said a lot of teenagers will go out when they receive their results "either to celebrate or commiserate" and they should be aware of the risks

The Public Health Agency has advised parents and young people to talk openly about the dangers of alcohol and drugs as students receive A level results.

It issued the warning as about 32,000 students in Northern Ireland find out their grades after two years of study.

Many will be preparing to go out to pubs and clubs to either celebrate their success or drown their sorrows.

The agency said parents should talk to their children about the risks posed by alcohol, banned drugs and legal highs.

The PHA's senior health and wellbeing improvement officer, Davis Turkington, said: "If your son or daughter is of legal age, it is important to talk to them about keeping safe if they choose to drink and to stay within safe drinking limits."

Highs and lows

He added: "Just talk to your sons and daughters and ask them where they plan to go, if they intend drinking, how they're going to get home and use that as a platform to talk to them more widely about the dangers of alcohol and drugs."

Mr Turkington said: "You can never be exactly sure of the make-up of recreational drugs, whether sold as illicit drugs or as 'legal highs'.

"Parents should emphasise to their children that the only way to avoid these risks is to not take drugs."

The agency's statement said that exam results can leave some teenagers "feeling low or anxious about their future" if they do not get the grades they hoped for.

It urged parents to look out for "behaviour or feelings that could indicate that their child is showing signs of stress" and seek support.

Teenagers under the legal age limit have also been warned that identification will be checked by pubs, clubs and off-licences.

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