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Expert advice

22nd Aug 2023

HSE provide tips for safe celebrations ahead of Leaving Certificate results

Jody Coffey

Best of luck to all receiving results this week!

The long-awaited Leaving Certificate results will land on Friday (August 25th), and the HSE is encouraging parents to discuss safe celebrations for the school-leavers in their family.

Students expecting their results will have studied through the Covid-19 pandemic and deserve to enjoy this milestone with friends and family.

While, of course, young people should celebrate their hard work, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure any celebrations are kept away from danger.

The HSE is now advising parents to have a brief and focused conversation about personal safety and alcohol and drug use with young people ahead of their exam celebrations.

Professor Bobby Smyth, who works as an adolescent addiction psychiatrist with the HSE, says the night in question offers a chance for parents to discuss alcohol and drug exposure with their young adult children.

“The night out after the leaving certificate results is likely to be a big one for many students. It can be an opportunity to talk about alcohol and about the possibility being exposed to drug use.

“Help them to think through the pros and cons of the various options, to think about what might go wrong, and to reassure them that you can be contacted for assistance should the night not go well.”

He explains that more and more young people are opting against drinking alcohol now due to the health gains that not drinking brings.

However, for post-secondary school adolescents who are planning to drink, it’s of the utmost importance that it be done so in a safe and mindful way.

“And alcohol does not necessarily have to go hand-in-hand with celebrations. If you choose to drink, then the our advice is to plan ahead, monitor and minimise your alcohol intake and stay safe and avoid drugs.

“Everyone reacts differently to alcohol, so the advice to young people is to make the best decision that suits how they want to celebrate.  Have a safe and enjoyable celebration, one to remember for all the right reasons.”

The HSE advises that young people under the age of 18 should avoid alcohol altogether.

If you or your child are looking for support, advice, facts, and resources to help stay safe and smart around alcohol, it can be found at

It also includes information about Alcohol and Health and tips for parents when communicating with young people about alcohol.

Information and supports on other drugs can also be found at