Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Student Disability & WellbeingPart of Student Services

Substance misuse

Studying can be very stressful, and people may turn to alcohol or drugs to try to avoid problems. Unfortunately this kind of "self-medication" may lead to serious physical or psychological problems of dependency and actually make it harder to cope. If you are worried that you or someone you know may have a problem with overuse of drugs or alcohol, there is a range of support services to which you can turn for help and guidance.

Substance Misuse

Addiction refers to a state where a person feels dependent on something physically, psychologically, and behaviourally, or all three.


It is legal to drink alcohol after the age of 18 but it is illegal to be intoxicated to the point of being 'incapable' or 'disorderly'.

People usually drink alcohol to feel relaxed or more confident. This can be particularly tempting at the start of university when everything is unfamiliar and exciting.

World Health Organisation guidelines state that safe alcohol intake is:

Alcohol plays a significant role in the social activities of many students in the UK. However, there are many events and activities run by the Students' Union that do not take place in bars or involve drinking.


Problems with drugs, like problems with alcohol, can impair your ability to function at university, increasing the chances that you will not perform academically as well as you could. Drugs have a negative effect on both physical and mental health, especially if they are used regularly.


Wellbeing Practitioner appointments

Support for students who may be facing significant difficulties in their life. If you feel uncertain about what to do next, the Wellbeing Practitioner team can help you to explore options.

Alcoholics Anonymous

If you need help with a drinking problem, phone the free national helpline on 0800 9177 650 or email You could also attend a local AA meeting.


Drinkaware have a lot of information and advice about alcohol and its effects, as well as drinks trackers and tools. They have an online chat option for confidential advice.  


DASH (Drugs, Alcohol Support and Health) is a service for young people under the age of 25 who would like support with their drugs or alcohol use.


Al-Anon Family Groups provide support to anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else’s drinking, regardless of whether that person is still drinking or not.

Change, Grow, Live

They have a range of information about alcohol and drugs online, and have a local service in Southampton to provide you with free and confidential support.

The Society of St James

The Society of St James help vulnerable people overcome challenges in their lives that prevent them from leading a fulfilling and rewarding life. They offer a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service.


Frank offer honest information about drugs, as well as advice for supporting yourself or someone else, and what to do in an emergency. They have a 24/7 helpline and can help you find local support.

Privacy Settings