Sarah-Jayne Baguley, 19, is unemployed, but that doesn’t stop her regularly binge-drinking 43 units on nights out
First published 09 Oct 2012;
Like most girls her age, Sarah-Jayne Baguley, 19, loves partying – but she takes it further than most, drinking up to a staggering 86 units every weekend, getting kicked out of clubs, waking up covered in vomit and having one-night stands.
What’s more, she downs the shocking quantity – usually two bottles of wine (18 units), 20 pints of lager (60 units) and eight Jägerbombs (8 units) – every weekend, despite being unemployed. She relies on her £57-a-week Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) handout, funded by the taxpayer.
Shockingly, the teen argues: “It’s stressful looking for a job, I need to let my hair down. I’m looking for jobs but, in the meantime, I don’t see why I should stop having fun.”
She speaks as worrying statistics reveal British teenage girls drink more than girls anywhere else in Europe, with more than half of 15 and 16 year olds admitting they drink to excess at least once a month.
'I've been thrown out of clubs and woken up with strangers'
The former care worker, who was made redundant three months ago, adds: “I don’t drink too much – it’s only at the weekends and all my mates do it. I’ve been thrown out of clubs and woken up with strangers, but it’s fun. Drinking is what I live for. I don’t see the point in going out for a couple of drinks, I want to get completely wasted.”
Sarah-Jayne, from Manchester – who’s lived with her grandad on her mum’s side from the age of 10, after she fell out with her separated parents – started drinking at 13. She says: “All my friends we doing it at the same age. At first, I’d drink a couple of litres of cider with them on the street – we’d get older kids to buy it and I’d use my pocket money.
By 16, I looked old enough to go to the pub. I’d have six pints of beer and a couple of shots of Sambuca in a night.”
Sarah-Jayne left school at 16 without any qualifications and trained as a care worker before landing a full-time job 18 months later. But far from reigning in her drinking, she started boozing more.
At the height of her drinking, she downed up to 55 units in a night – almost 20 times the recommended weekly limit – three or four times a week. She says: “I’d usually spend £70 a night and drink a bottle of rosé wine [9 units], 10 lagers, [30 units] six Sambuca shots [6 units] and 10 Jägerbombs [10 units].”
'She uses half of her £57-a-week JSA to go towards funding her partying'
And Sarah-Jayne has barely curbed her habit since losing her care job three months ago, when the home she worked for closed. Incredibly, she still drinks on Fridays and Saturdays, spending £100 every weekend – and says she uses half her £57-a-week JSA to go towards funding her partying.
Insisting she’s cut back her boozing to 43 units a night, she shamelessly admits: “I haven’t considered stopping going out until I’m working again. I’m entitled to spend my money however I want to. I go to the Job Centre once a fortnight and look for jobs online. Partying is a way of forgetting my worries!”
Adding she doesn’t claim other benefits because she still lives with her grandad, who is retired, and only contributes to groceries, she says: “I only use half my JSA on drinking, the rest comes from my £2,000 savings. I’ll replace the money when I get a job but, for now, I want to enjoy myself. My grandad doesn’t know the extent of my drinking and thinks I’m just having fun.”
And, shockingly, single Sarah-Jayne plans to up her boozing again when she finds work, despite admitting she’s been so drunk sometimes she’s had a one-night stand and woken up with no idea who she’s with or whether they’ve even had sex.
She’s even been too drunk to remember to use protection on four occasions, despite not being on the Pill. She says: “It’s not something I do often. I’m going to start taking the Pill and using contraception, as I don’t want to take any more chances. I don’t feel bad about it though – it’s all part of the fun.”
'I've woken up in vomit and been kicked out of clubs for climbing on tables'
She adds: “I’ve woken up in vomit and been kicked out of clubs for climbing on tables, but I’ve never been arrested.
My family has no idea how much I drink, they’d be shocked. But as far as they’re concerned, I’m just a teenager enjoying myself. Partying’s about having a good time. I’d hate to be thought of as boring. I do get bad hangovers, but I often crack open another beer when I wake up – hair of the dog helps.”
By Francine Anker
For information on drinking safely, visit www.drinkaware.co.uk