Health and Wellbeing, Uncategorized

Using alcohol & drugs safely – new student drop-in service

Bel, Counselling & Wellbeing Placement Student, provides more information about a new drop-in drugs and alcohol service for the university… 

As part of the Student Support team, we are aware that student safety is one of the most important things to focus on, and this encompasses many things, including: safety at night; safety with money; sexual safety; and lastly, safety when using alcohol and drugs.


Alcohol is the most common substance students use to have fun on a night out. As with all things, this is best done in moderation and while it can help you have a great time, it can cause some serious issues too. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when drinking stops being social and starts becoming problematic, especially when the culture at university promotes drinking. As a general rule of thumb, problem drinking is when you continue to drink heavily despite alcohol causing harm, including any of these points:

  • Have an alcohol-related health condition
  • Binge drink often, leading to days off work or antisocial behaviour while drunk
  • Spend more on alcohol than you can afford
  • Have problems with your relationships or studies due to drinking.


Know your limits

Men should drink no more than 14 units per week, no more than 3-4 of these in one day, and should have at least two alcohol-free days each week. (NB this has changed from 21 to 14 recently).

Women should drink no more than 14 units per week, no more than 2-3 of these in one day, and should have at least two alcohol-free days each week.

Pregnant women should not drink at all, as alcohol may harm the baby.


One unit is a shot of spirits, half a pint of beer or cider, or 2/3 of a small glass of wine. You can use the Drink Aware Unit Calculator to find out how many units are in your drinks of choice.

There is also a phone app called ‘Drinks Tracker’ that you can download for free.

If you want to reduce your alcohol intake and are finding it difficult have a look at this web page that is full of useful information Change4Life.



The laws around drugs in the UK make it a slightly taboo subject within university, however when addressing safety around drugs it is important to know the facts and be safe, if you decide you do want to use them.

Some people are able to use drugs without ever experiencing any negative consequences, but in most cases people who abuse recreational or prescription drugs face problems in many areas of their lives, including relationships, physical health, financially, at home and in their studies. This leaves them feeling isolated, helpless and ashamed. If you’re worried about your own drug use, learning about the nature of drug abuse can develop a better understanding of the situation and how best to deal with it.

For more information about certain types of drugs, visit dan 24/7’s website.


As a university, advice and support given for drug use and issues up until now has been held mainly within the Student Support Centre.

However we are delighted to announce that Taith will be coming to the university to offer one to one drop in sessions for students, offering non-judgemental advice on how to be safer with alcohol and drugs, and to talk over any concerns or worries students have.

This is a free service to students run by the specialist Drug and Alcohol Service, which employs trained friendly professionals who will work with you, one-to-one, to address any concern you might have about your alcohol-use. The service is completely confidential and supportive.


Taith Cymru is an organisation that offers open access to advice and information on all kinds of drug and alcohol issues, including both one-to-one and group support. They can give specific information on how to drink more safely, harm reduction information and advice.

If you don’t want to come to the university buildings then this is the way to contact them and meet off campus The EDAS service.


Or to arrange an appointment telephone EDAS 0300 300 7000 or for more information email them at


They can also provide Harm Reduction information and advice such as how to prevent an overdose, and how to cope and what to do if you find someone/know someone who has overdosed.


The drop in sessions will be on the first Tuesday of every month commencing Tuesday 1st March, from 5pm-7pm.


If the thought of coming in to see someone puts you off completely however you still think you may benefit from some help, there are some very useful self-help resources linked below. They give a bit more information about alcohol, addiction problems, how to go about getting past your problem and the reality of what recovery looks like.

A5 Alcohol and you

Breaking a habit

How to control your drinking


CBT for drinking problems


Contacting Counselling, Health & Wellbeing

Watch our video and see for yourself that we have friendly and approachable staff. Staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space. Whatever it is you need help with please contact us – you can access our drop-in from Monday-Friday 3-3:45pm for a non-bookable, 10-15 minutes appointment to have an initial chat with us or, alternatively, please refer into our service by completing our referral questionnaire.

If you are worried about your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have GP please contact Park Place Surgery.
Best wishes

Bel, Student Intern
Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.



  • David Roppo

    When it comes to drinking alcohol, I believe there is a difference between use and abuse. Drinking becomes problematic when it is used as a means of emotional escape. At first, this seems to be a solution to students who find it difficult to manage anxiety, depression, and/or emotional distress. However, the solution quickly turns into a trap. When students are taught to face their challenges rather than escape from them, destructive drinking becomes a rather moot point.

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