Many people enjoy drinking in moderation but problems can occur if you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time, if you drink to get drunk or if you find it difficult to control your alcohol use. The current UK low risk drinking guidelines recommend that adults should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week. Further information relating to the UK Chief Medical Officers’ low risk guidelines can be found here.


What is a unit of alcohol?

1 unit is 10ml of pure alcohol. Alcohol content depends on the size and strength of the drink and can vary greatly. Further information about alcohol units and what they look like can be found here

Is your drinking putting your health at risk? Drinkaware have produced a quick and easy self-assessment quiz to help individuals assess whether their drinking levels pose a potential risk to their health. The Alcohol Self Assessment can be found here


Alcohol poisoning

Your liver can only process 1 unit of alcohol an hour. If you drink more than this, the alcohol  in your bloodstream increases. The more you drink the greater the chance that vital functions such as breathing, blood circulation, temperature, heart rate and the gag reflex will be suppressed. If the gag reflex is impaired and you vomit, you are at risk of choking. Warning signs such as unsteadiness  and slurred speech are your body’s way of telling you that you need to stop drinking. The following link details the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning and explains what to do if you suspect someone is showing signs of alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning - signs and symptoms and how to respond


Safer drinking tips

The following steps may help to reduce the risks and potential harm caused by alcohol:

  • Eat a meal before you drink                                                   

  • Alternate with non-alcoholic drinks                     

  • Drink smaller measures             

  • Spread out your drinks over the night                                   

  • Drink lower strength drinks                                     

  • Don’t leave your drinks unattended

Further information and advice on how to stay safe while drinking can be found in the following links:

Staying safe while drinking  

How to stay safe at University


If you feel that your alcohol use is becoming problematic, or if your alcohol use is starting to affect your relationships, wellbeing and/or your ability function, then please seek help. The NHS Live Well guide provides useful information on where you can get help for alcohol use and explains the different treatment options available.


Open Door Team

The University’s Open Door Team provide support to students experiencing psychological and mental health difficulties. You can contact Open Door by telephone 01904 322 140 or email [email protected]. Initial appointments can be made via the online referral form.


York Drug & Alcohol Service

The York Drug & Alcohol Service is delivered in partnership between Changing Lives and Spectrum Community Health CiC. The service provides a range of clinical and psychological interventions for individuals affected by drug and/or alcohol issues.

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01904 464 680



On campus, you can also get in touch with YUSU's Advice & Support Centre (or the GSA Advice Service for postgraduate students) for independent and confidential guidance on support options, or speak with a member of your college wellbeing team.



The drug and alcohol charity Addaction provide professional advice and information through their webchat service. Their opening times can vary but they are usually available Monday-Friday. Their twitter feed details their operational times.



Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a self-help fellowship of people who wish to stop using alcohol.  Their regular self-help meetings are based on a twelve step programme.

Helpline: 0800 9177 650


Email: [email protected]



Helpline 0300 123 1110

Provide information and advice for anyone concerned about their own alcohol use, or someone else’s.

Helpline available weekdays 9am–8pm and weekends 11am–4pm.

Help for carers/family members affected by alcohol use

Please see the below sources of support if you have been affected by a family member’s drug and alcohol use.


York Carers Centre

York Carers Centre provide support to anyone who affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use. This includes parents, partners, children, siblings, grandparents and friends. Carers can access their carer support services and their substance misuse carer support group. This support group is held on on the third Wednesday of the month, 1.30 to 3.30pm at Tesco Community Room, Askham Bar, York.

Telephone: 01904 715 490

Email [email protected]




Al-Anon provide support to anyone affected by someone else’s drinking regardless of whether the individual continues to drink alcohol.



Adfam provide information and support for the families of drug and alcohol users.

They provide information on local support groups and helplines.