Campaign to combat excessive holiday drinking

The British Embassy in Portugal is urging young holidaymakers, including those visiting the Algarve and popular destinations such as Albufeira, known for its lively nightlife, to think before and while they drink to avoid putting themselves at risk of serious harm. The message is part of a new campaign by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under the banner, “On holiday, don’t let drink do your talking”.

Expats are being asked to share this important message with visiting friends and family to help ensure they spend their time enjoying their holidays, not in hospital, jail or worse.

New research shows that around half (51%) of 16-24 year olds say they are likely to drink more on holiday than at home. Almost two-thirds (62%) attributed this to alcohol being cheaper. Peer pressure is also a major factor, with 40% of those surveyed saying they had felt pressure from friends to drink more than they wanted to.

Consular staff in Portugal have already been called on this summer to come to the aid of British nationals who find themselves in trouble after drinking to excess.

Simona Demuro, British Consul for Portugal, said: “Going on holiday is a great opportunity to relax and have fun with family and friends, and enjoying a drink can be part of that. We’re not telling people to stop drinking but we do want people to be aware of the consequences of drinking to excess – and our research shows almost half of young people understand them already.

“Laws and customs regarding alcohol vary from country to country, for example, in Portugal it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.5 grams per litre or more. This roughly translates to a glass of wine or beer with your meal. In Portugal it tends to be ‘free-pour’ rather than specific measures, which makes it harder to control how much you are drinking. So it’s important to know and respect local laws to avoid a night in a police cell or even a criminal record.

“Drinking can impair judgement. The effect of being hospitalised or arrested overseas goes far beyond a ruined holiday. So our message is, have fun in the sun, but drink responsibly.”

|| Top tips to ensure alcohol doesn’t ruin your night out or even your whole holiday

• Remember tolerance to alcohol may change in the heat, and bars in Portugal often serve larger measures than in the UK.It is worth alternating your drinks with water or soft drinks.

• Protect your drink – to avoid the risk of your drink being spiked, keep an eye on it at all times and don’t accept drinks from strangers unless you see them being poured at the bar.

• Stay close to your friends – if you are drinking with friends look out for each other. If they seem drunk or act out of the ordinary, make sure you get them home safely. Never let a friend go home alone or with someone they don’t know.

• Drink respectfully – this includes showing respect and consideration to other holidaymakers and local people while on holiday.