Drugs and Alcohol


A glass of wine at dinner. A few to unwind after a hard day. A couple more to celebrate a birthday with friends – it all adds up!

There is lots of guidance out there to tell us how many units we should not exceed but how many units do different drinks contain? It is important to know this information to keep within safe limits. Regularly drinking over the guidelines can lead to serious health problems, from liver damage to a greater risk of getting cancer or having a heart attack. And don’t forget that alcohol also contains calories so it can significantly add to your calorie consumption too!

The official NHS recommendation is:

  • Women = 2-3 units per day
  • Men = 3-4 units per day

For a more detailed calculation of your alcohol intake and to see how many units are in different types of alcohol, try this online calculator: Know your Alcohol Units

Over-consumption of alcohol, known as ‘binge drinking’ is when a person drinks more than the guided amount in a short amount of time to get drunk or feel the effects of alcohol. An estimate of around 40% of A&E admissions are alcohol related illnesses or injuries (often because of binge drinking).

As well as health problems, long-term alcohol abuse can lead to social problems such as unemployment, divorce, domestic abuse, and homelessness.

If you are concerned about your own, or somebody else’s drinking habits, a good first step is to visit you GP where you can discuss the problem and get advice on the services and treatments available. You may also want to contact a UK based charity or support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Alcohol Concern (See resource list below).

Drug Use

Drug use and addiction can have a significant effect on your wellbeing. Drug abuse can damage your health and can often ruin relationships with friends and loved ones. Illegal drugs can be placed into three categories, Class A, B or C. They are categorised based on how harmful they are either to the user or to society when misused.

If you or someone you know has a drug addiction there are a number of organisations you can contact for help and advice, such as ‘Talk to FRANK’.

Drug users may also wish to consider rehab as a treatment if necessary.

Publications on Alcohol and Drugs

A number of publications are available to read and download by clicking below:

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