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The University of Southampton
Enabling ServicesPart 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, the University has a range of support services to which you can turn for help and guidance.

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.

  • Moderate use of alcohol will not cause physical or psychological harm
  • If alcohol is used regularly then a person can become addicted to it and health can be seriously affected
  • Toxic amounts of alcohol can lead to death
  • Excessive use of alcohol can lead to people getting into dangerous situations such as road accidents, fights or assaults

World Health Organisation guidelines state that safe alcohol intake is:

  • For men: three units per day, a maximum of 21 per week and at least two alcohol-free days per week.
  • For women: two units per day, a maximum of 14 per week and at least two alcohol-free days per week.

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.

The Frank website offers confidential, non-judgemental advice via email or its national helpline 0300 123 6600, as well as live internet chat. It also offers advice to anyone concerned about a friend.

If you are dealing with a drug or alcohol problem, or are worried about a friend, there are several support services that you can contact for information and advice.

Contact us or visit the drop-in to talk about your concerns. An advisor will help you identify the best kind of support.

If you are living in University accommodation and are concerned about a housemate you may wish to contact the Student Life team for advice.

In a crisis during office hours, the First Support team is there to help. In an emergency, contact the Emergency Services directly on 999 or 111.

If you are concerned about a serious issue or incident relating to drugs or alcohol, you can contact the University´s Out of Hours service.

Alternatively, if you have a concern about drugs or alcohol then you may wish to speak to your Students' Union Welfare Officer, or contact one of the Students’ Union volunteer peer supporters for an informal chat.

In Southampton, The Bridge is an open access drug service which is available to all. The Bridge is not connected with the University. You can phone to make an appointment or just drop in.

Contact Enabling Services for advice or First Support in a crisis.

Student Life

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 8180


Out of hours

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 2811


You may prefer to contact a national or local support organisation.


Support for alcoholics

Tel: +44(0)23 8022 3198


Offers a local alcohol service in Southampton.

Tel: +44(0)23 8052 8376


A1 Anon

Support for relatives and friends of alcoholics

Tel: +44(0)20 7403 0888

National drink line

Alcohol information, advice and support

Tel: 0300 123 1110

The Bridge Open Access Drug Service (Southampton)

Local support

Tel: +44(0)23 8088 1400

Frank: national drugs helpline

24-hour help line for drug users, recovering or past users, family and friends. Live chat option.

Tel: 0300 123 6600

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