The bar at The Students' Union at UWE Bristol

Alcohol and drugs

What to do if you have any concerns about alcohol or drugs.


Alcohol is a feature in many cultures and lifestyles today, and is enjoyed by most people in moderation. However, there are instances where, if too much is consumed, it can be harmful to you and lead to health problems. That’s why it’s important to understand the effects of alcohol on your body and consider your relationship with it.

There's no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink below recommended daily limits the risks of harming your health are low.

Drinking guidelines

Alcohol is measured in units. A unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10ml of pure alcohol, which is roughly half a pint of normal-strength lager, a small glass of wine or a single measure (25ml) of spirits. There is more information about alcohol units on the NHS website, and a drinks meter is available to help to think about alcohol use and compare consumption to others. Find out more about the effects of alcohol on your body.

Sensible drinking guidelines for men are no more than three to four units per day, and for women no more than two to three units per day. It is also recommended that two days a week are kept alcohol-free so that the body has a chance to rest.

Calculating your alcohol intake

Calculating the number of alcohol units that a drink contains is not as simple as you might think, as it can vary a lot between types of drinks and different brands. The BBC Newsbeat's Booze calculator can help calculate your alcohol intake. Similarly, the NHS have launched a free drinks tracker app that you can use on the go and on nights out.

Looking after yourself

If you are going out for the night and you know that you’ll be drinking alcohol, it’s important to remember to keep yourself safe. Read our helpful tips on how to have a safe night out.


Drugs are substances that have an effect on the body and brain, and there are many legal and illegal drugs that have varying effects on your body. Find out more about drugs by receiving personalised feedback on your drug use through the anonymous website Drugs Meter.

Drug side effects

More information is available about the most common drugs and their effects on the NHS website. You may also find support services such as Talk to Frank helpful in answering any questions or concerns you may have about drugs. There is also confidential support and advice for those who use stimulants, psychoactive, alternative, club and experimental drugs through the SPACED website. 

Getting advice

If you have any concerns about alcohol or drugs or would like to talk things through further the University's Wellbeing Service can offer support and help.

You can also access to our new service, SPACED, where you'll receive one-to-one support on Frenchay Campus if you're experiencing problems with alcohol or drug use. You just need to call 01454 868750 (Freephone 0800 073 3011) and complete a short anonymous telephone assessment. We’ll then get in touch with further details.

Useful websites

Back to top