You're away from home for the first time - you can stay out as late as you want, do whatever you want. You're free – and it's fun.
The last thing you want is for a nasty incident to spoil your new-found freedom. Who wants a drunken university night out ending with lost phones, purses, wallets, or worse a fight or even a visit to A&E. It is important to be aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol drinking and how you can ensure you can stay safe.
Know your limits
The UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines (of not drinking more than 14 units a week) are in place to help protect you and keep the risk of long and short-term harms from drinking alcohol low. The more you drink, the less you will be able to spot dangerous situations or do something risky.
Stick to them and you are less likely to suffer from alcohol poisoning or be in a position to help a friend who has drunk too much.
Our Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app is free to download and will help you keep an eye on how many units and calories you’re drinking as well as the money you spend. Handy when you’re trying to make your student loan last the term.
Realising you have a problem with alcohol is the first big step to getting help.
- You often feel the need to have a drink.
- You get into trouble because of your drinking.
- Other people warn you about how much you’re drinking.
- You think your drinking is causing you problems.
A good place to start seeking help is with a GP. Try to be accurate and honest about how much you drink and any problems it may be causing you. The GP may suggest different types of assessment and support options available to you such as local alcohol support services.
- Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline. If you're worried about your own or someone else's drinking, you can call this free helpline in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a free self-help group. Its "12 step" programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups.
- Al-Anon Family Groups offers support and understanding to the families and friends of problem drinkers, whether they're still drinking or not. Alateen is part of Al-Anon and can be attended by 12- to 17-year-olds who are affected by another person's drinking, usually a parent.
- We Are With You is a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families and communities manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.
- Adfam is a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol. Adfam operates an online message board and a database of local support groups.
- The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) provides a free, confidential telephone and email helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents and others concerned about their welfare. Call 0800 358 3456 for the Nacoa helpline.
- SMART Recovery groups help people decide whether they have a problem, build up their motivation to change, and offer a set of proven tools and techniques to support recovery.
Located in the Birmingham area? Please check the following website out for support and advice:
If you need treatment for drug addiction, you’re entitled to NHS care in the same way as anyone else who has a health problem. With the right help and support, it’s possible for you to get drug free and stay that way.
Where to get help
A GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you intro treatment. They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drug service.
If you’re not comfortable talking to a GP, you can approach your local drug treatment service yourself.
Visit the Frank website to find local drug treatment services:
If you’re having trouble finding the right sort of help, call the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600. They can talk you through all your options.
Gambling is when you risk money (or something of value) in a game or a bet in the hope of winning money or a prize. This could be playing the national lottery, buying scratch cards, betting on football matches, going to casinos or betting online.
It could also be when you are playing online games. Some online games have loot box features that allow players to pay for a chance to win an in game virtual item. An example of this is where in some games you can win or buy a skin which is an item that changes the appearance of a character, avatar or weapon.
Gambling becomes a problem once you start to lose control of your ability to stop and it starts to disrupt your everyday life, interfering with your responsibilities and the relationships with your friends and family. If you feel unable to stop gambling or control you behaviour you should seek help.
If you are unable to control your gambling or are concerned it is affecting your behaviour you should seek support from the organisations below:
GamCare is the leading national provider of free information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling.
Self-assessment - If you are not sure how much gambling has become a problem for you, you can take their online assessment to find out how much of an impact gambling is having in your life.
Aquarius are a charity service across the midlands, supporting people affected by alcohol, drugs and gambling. They are also GamCare providers in the midlands and provide a gambling support service across the region.
- Website: Aquarius Charity
- Telephone: 0300 456 4293
- Address: 236 Bristol Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7S1