Alcohol & Drugs

A hand with a slogan saying Stop Addiction.

Alcohol

Worried about alcohol?

If you’re worried about your drinking or that of someone close to you, you could:

  • call Drinkline, the national alcohol helpline, on 0800 917 8282. It’s free and confidential
  • speak to your GP
  • visit the Student Counselling website self help pages on alcohol, drugs and addiction
  • If it's affecting your studies chat to a Just Ask adviser

Most students will probably have at least one alcoholic drink whilst at University. But whether you are teetotal, a fan of the occasional spritzer, or a self-confessed party animal:  it’s important to know the facts so that you make informed choices!

The Ministry of Cheer is a really great website, with loads of advice and information to encourage more healthy drinking practices. They even have tips on how to beat hangovers (just in case...). You can also speak to a Just Ask adviser if you are worried about any issues around alcohol.

How much is it safe to drink?

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week. This applies to men and women.

If you regularly drink this much, then try to spread it out over a few days, but also have several drink-free days each week.

For a precise guide to how much you’re drinking, we suggest using this unit calculator.

Drinking more than 6 units in one go if you are a woman and more than 10 if you are a man poses a much bigger risk to your health. Anything over those amounts is classed as “binge drinking”. Studies have shown that those who drink a lot in their teens and early 20s are up to twice as likely to be binge drinking 25 years later.

Some problems with binge drinking:

  • heightened emotions – even the most trivial event or problem can become a massive problem when you’re drunk: cue arguments/tears in the toilets/ telling strangers you love them/starting fights
  • your body doesn’t like it – being sick or incontinent is just not nice
  • loss of inhibitions – if this leads to your behaving in a way you wouldn’t normally, you’ll regret it in the morning

For more information about the problems that can arise from being drunk in public, have a look at the Going Out section of our website.

Drugs

Worried about drugs?

If you’re worried about the effect of drugs on you or someone close to you, you could:

We would never encourage anyone to do anything illegal. But, if you are going to use drugs, we’d prefer you to know the facts.

There are ways to minimise the short-term risks of taking drugs:

  • understand what you’re taking
  • make sure you’re with people you trust and feel comfortable with
  • don’t mix – avoid “cocktails” of different drugs
  • stay hydrated

You can try to prepare for how a particular drug will affect you by understanding what different drugs do. However, bear in mind that:

  • no recreational drug is ‘pure’ – and you can’t prepare for your reaction to what the drug has been mixed with
  • you can never be 100% of how you’re going to react to a drug
  • mental health issues such as psychosis or depression can be exacerbated or even triggered by drug use

The FRANK website has an A-Z list of drugs and their common effects. It also has real people giving their real opinions of what it’s like to take drugs.

We talk more about the legal implications of doing, or being caught with, drugs here. Don’t forget that the University will take a pretty dim view of you doing anything illegal.