Drugs & Alcohol


Many students drink alcohol at university - so we want to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as much as possible. Though we do not actively encourage the consumption of alcohol, we want to do the best we can to ensure you are taking precautions during your time at university. Though it can be fun to have a drink, it is important to be aware of your own body and personal limits. Everyone has a tolerance to drinking that can vary by individual – if you are someone who gets drunk quite easily, or if you have a higher tolerance, it is important not to push your own limits and to know when to stop. Some good indicators of when to stop include: Feeling dizzy, blacking out, loss of physical ability (i.e. stumbling, falling over), blurred vision and making decisions that you might not usually make when sober. It is important to have supportive friends around you who want to take care of you when you feel too drunk, and it may be worth having a chat with friends before getting drunk to ensure you are all keeping each other safe whilst drinking. Plan your route home before going out for a drink and always be aware of safety – try not to walk home alone late at night when intoxicated and make sure you have a plan to get back, whether that is ordering an uber or arranging for a sober friend to pick you up after your night out.

When You Feel Like You Have Had Too Much

Hydration is key. It's super important to keep yourself hydrated when drinking alcohol, this includes having water or a soft drink between alcoholic ones. If you feel like you have had too much to drink, sit down and hydrate yourself as much as you can. At this point, it might be sensible to call it a night and head home, though remember not to leave your friends alone, keep your friends updated and make group decisions surrounding when it is time to call it a night. If you continue past your limits, you put yourself at risk of alcohol poisoning, and you may be more vulnerable to dangerous situations if your senses are impaired from too much alcohol.


What is Alcohol Poisoning?

This is when someone drinks a high amount of alcohol, usually over a short period of time – it is the leading cause of poisoning among young people in the UK. The signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion; severely slurred speech, loss of coordination, vomiting, irregular or slow breathing, pale or blue-tinged skin caused by low body temperature (hypothermia), being conscious but unresponsive (stupor), passing out and being unconscious. This is something that needs to be treated in hospital and it can be very unpleasant, so please take care of yourself and be careful not to get to this point.


We highly discourage the use of drugs, both illegal and legal highs. Taking drugs is always going to pose a risk to your health and to your life, so we would heavily advise you to avoid them at all costs. We do hope that you will not take drugs and to reiterate, we highly advise against the use of them. If you do decide to take this personal risk, refer to The Loop, they are a charity that provides drug testing, safety advice and harm reduction strategies. Please refer to their website for information. Please be mindful and take care of yourselves and your friends.

The Risk of Taking Drugs

Taking drugs pose some serious risks to your health and life. There is an exhaustive list of things that can go wrong including heart conditions ranging from abnormal heart rates to heart attacks; collapsed veins and blood vessel infections from injected drugs, nausea and abdominal pain, risk of liver damage or failure, seizures, strokes, mental confusion, brain damage, lung disease, problems with memory, attention and decision making. To avoid these life-altering risks, please avoid taking drugs.

Do you think you may need to seek help with an alcohol or drug problem?

There may come a time when you think you might need to seek help with an alcohol or drug issue. Both drugs and alcohol can be addictive substances and it is a slippery slope to becoming dependent on them. Here are some signs that it might be time to seek help with a dependency issue:

  • You use alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings. Traumatic events happen in life and it's not uncommon to turn to drugs or alcohol in times of distress, to avoid feeling intense emotions. If this is something that resonates with you please remember this is only delaying, intensifying or making the emotions express themselves in different and non-productive ways.
  • You use alcohol or drugs to control pain. If you are experiencing physical pain for any reason and you have become dependent on using alcohol or drugs to numb the pain, as opposed to using recommended healing methods, this could be a sign that you need to seek support.
  • You use drugs or alcohol to control your moods or to stay focused. If you feel like you struggle to maintain a calm state of mind, or struggle to remain focussed on a task without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it may be time to seek help.
  • You cannot go a day without taking drugs or getting drunk. If you feel like you have fallen into an unhealthy routine of daily alcohol or drug abuse, and you can’t go a day or even a couple of days without it, you are suffering from dependency.
  • This is not an exhaustive list – if you feel in yourself that there is a problem there, please do seek support.

Where can I get help for an alcohol or drug problem?

If you feel like you are struggling with an alcohol or drug problem and you don’t want to involve the university, you can come to the Students' Union for advice. We can signpost you to a relevant agency that will be able to offer support, help and strategies to overcome your dependency. If you aren’t keen to come and speak to us, here are some places you can directly contact for support:

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

0800 9177 650
help@aamail.org (helpline)
Help and support for anyone with alcohol problems.


Alcohol Change UK

Information and support options for people worried about how much alcohol they are drinking, in both English and Welsh.


Cocaine Anonymous UK

0800 612 0225
Help and support for anyone who wants to stop using cocaine.



0300 123 6600
Confidential advice and information about drugs, their effects and the law.


Marijuana Anonymous

0300 124 0373
Help for anyone worried about cannabis use.


Narcotics Anonymous

0300 999 1212
Support for anyone who wants to stop using drugs.

What if I do not want to take part in drinking and drugs?

You can have fun without drinking or taking drugs, and if you aren’t keen to get involved there is absolutely nothing wrong with asserting that boundary and saying no. You can say no firmly, and people might question you and try to pressure you into getting involved however do try to stand your ground in this situation. Though you shouldn’t have to explain yourself, asserting your personal beliefs might help. If people are pressuring you to do something that you don’t want to do, it might be a good time to take a step out of the situation. You are not alone, there are many students who do not drink or take drugs for their own personal reasons, and you are completely valid in your choice to stay sober.