You're living away from home for the first time - you can stay out as late as you want, do whatever you want. Moving to University brings a new sense of independence and freedom, the last thing you want is for a nasty incident to spoil all the new experiences that University has to offer.
If alcohol is going to be a part of your life while living in Halls, there are a few things you can do to look after yourself. Take a look at our top tips:
Line your stomach
Before you head out, make sure to line your stomach with a hearty meal. Food helps to slow the absorption of alcohol which will stop it going to your head so quickly. Carbs and protein are ideal to eat before you go out, make it a ritual before you go out to cook with your flatmates. You will also save money by avoiding the 4am kebab order.
Stay hydrated...with water!
When you go up to the bar to grab another drink, consider asking for a glass of water too. Not only is tap water free in bars, but it helps keep you hydrated which may lessen the hangover the next day.
Leave the card at home
Seeing your student loan enter your bank account is an exciting feeling, but looking at your bank account the day after a night out just leads to a sinking feeling. Instead of taking your debit or credit card out, consider budgeting and taking cash. Set aside money for a taxi home and once your cash runs out you know it's time to head home.
Everyone copes with alcohol differently, when you're on a night out don't feel the pressure to keep up with friends. If you are doing rounds, there is nothing wrong with ordering a soft drink or water instead of alcohol.
Watch your drink
Having your drink spiked with alcohol or drugs can make you very vulnerable. You might not notice a difference to the taste of your drink but the effects can be serious. Drink spiking (with drugs or alcohol) can happen in any situation, here are a few things you can do to help protect yourself:
- Never leave your drink unattended
- Don't accept drinks from someone you don't know or trust
- Don't drink from other people's glasses
- Look for changes in your drink - is the straw missing or is it fizzing in a way it wasn't before?
Spiking a drink can carry a sentence of up to 10 years, and spiking even includes adding additional shots into your friends drink without them knowing. Educate yourself on all of the facts around drink spiking and date rape drugs here.
If you suspect that you may have been spiked on a night out, call Campus Support and an ambulance if necessary, and then follow up by letting your RA know. It's also important to report this to the Police. Spiking reports are now done online.
Reporting spoking to the Police
You can report spiking or spiking-related offences on the Police website, along with advice & info to help you or someone you know who has been affected by spiking. There is no time limit to reporting, whenever it happened, you can report it here.
Look out for friends
On a night out make sure to always stick together. Not only is this key in protecting yourself from spiking, but it also leads to a safer night out. If someone's disappeared don't assume they’ve headed home, find out for sure. Don’t leave anyone behind. Consider turning on 'find my location' apps on your phones so that you always know where someone is if you are struggling to find them.
Staying with a group of friends often makes you feel more comfortable on a night out, however if you ever do get separated and are left in an uncomfortable position in a bar or club, you can ask the bar staff for Angela.
Ask for Angela is a campaign designed to reduce sexual abuse on nights out, a number of bars and clubs around Liverpool participate. If you feel uncomfortable, simply go up to the bar and 'ask for Angela'.
Getting home safely:
Make sure your taxi is legitimate
When it's time to go home, make sure the taxi you are getting is legitimate. Always order a taxi from an App like Uber or Delta to ensure that the drivers are licensed. If you've got a long wait for a taxi, stay somewhere safe and well-lit until your cab turns up, ideally with a friend. Once you are home safely, make sure to drop a message in the group chat so that all of your friends know!
If you do find yourself alone and are concerned about safely heading back to Halls by yourself, you can call the University's Campus Support team for advice and support on 0151 794 3252 (emergency number 0151 794 2222). Make sure you have these numbers saved in your phone in case you need them. The Campus Support Team can help arrange to get you back to campus, and then have a chaperone service on campus to accompany you back to Halls..
Here's Andy, the University's police officer, with some tips on staying safe on a night out...
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