Alcohol, Drug and Addiction Awareness


If you do choose to drink alcohol, drinking in moderation can be an enjoyable and usually harmless feature of student life. However, getting drunk regularly can have potentially serious physical, social and academic effects. Even drinking to excess just occasionally can be damaging.

Often people believe that alcohol use is a key part of student life, however many people choose not to consume alcohol for a variety of reasons. Be aware that many of your fellow students may not drink alcohol; respect other peoples’ choices, religions and cultures.  If you prefer not to consume alcohol, for whatever reason, that’s absolutely fine; you will likely find many other like-minded people who share this preference. Don't be pressurised into drinking by your peers. If others do not respect your wishes, seek help

Visit Drinkaware for up to date information about safe drinking practices.

Check out student Fatema's blog on having fun at university as a non-drinker.


Almost half of 16 to 24 year olds in England and Wales have tried drugs at least once. The use of drugs, however,  can have serious health consequences both physically and mentally, as well as increasing the likelihood of criminal convictions and associated crime.

It's not just illegal drugs that you need to be wary of. There are legal substances for sale with potential health risks. NHS Choices provide further useful information about legal highs.

Seek help if you're feeling pressure to take drugs.

How do I know that I need help?

Some signs that your alcohol or drug use may be problematic include:

•    You find you need to use drugs or alcohol more frequently to get the same effect.
•    You have drug or alcohol cravings and urges during the day.
•    You regularly drink or take drugs to deal with a hangover or withdrawal symptoms.
•    Your use of alcohol or drugs is starting to affect your relationships with family and friends.
•    Your use of alcohol or drugs is starting to affect your ability to work/study.
•    You forget what happened the night before; you feel embarrassed or ashamed of your behaviour.
•    You experience sleep disturbances or struggle to get up.
•    Your drug use or drinking is upsetting or worrying you, but you can’t stop.
•    You conceal, or lie about your use of drugs or alcohol to friends and family.
•    Once you’ve had your first drink or a small amount of a drug you feel unable to stop.


Online gambling activities like bingo, poker, betting, or more specific types of gambling, have seen a huge increase in popularity as access is now easily available.  Gambling addiction is when you experience an impulse to gamble, regardless of the consequences. You know the odds are against you but you just can’t stop. However, gambling doesn’t have to be an addiction to impact negatively on your life.

One of the most common results of a gambling addiction or gambling problems is loss of money and debt, but it can also leave you isolated and impact on your relationships and mental health.

Debt due to gambling (or any other addiction) can cause or heighten feelings of shame and guilt, which may make it harder to seek help, but it’s important to get advice if it is causing severe financial hardship. 


The following services are here to support you and give the relevant information and treatment. If you think that you or a friend may have an issue with drugs, alcohol or addiction it is important to talk to someone, so we can get the right support in place to help you move forward.


Better Than Well-Addiction Recovery Programme

A significant number of people in the UK each year have difficulty in controlling their use of alcohol or other psychoactive substances. Other rewarding behaviours such as gambling, gaming, sex, shopping and exercise can also produce similar issues. Loss of control of the substance or behaviour is a key feature of addiction, and can lead to significant physical, psychological or social problems.

Fortunately, the majority of people who develop such problems are eventually able to regain control over these behaviours, and enter ‘recovery’. Recovery is more than just sustained control over addiction, but rather an accumulation of positive benefits such as physical and mental health, and a satisfying and meaningful life involving participation in the rights, roles and responsibilities of society.

The University has its own ‘Better Than Well - Addiction Recovery Programme’ that has a weekly timetable of peer support meetings, drop-in services, peer support, ‘dry’ social activities and opportunities for volunteering and service to the local community. It is coordinated by academic staff from the Institute for Mental Health, but run by students supporting their peers to maximise educational and social opportunities whilst continuing a personal program of recovery from addiction. 

For more information contact Edward Day at

UBHeard Helpline - 24/7 support

  • UBHeard is a confidential listening and support service for all registered students (undergraduate and postgraduate) that gives you immediate emotional and mental health support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
    Call the service now on 0800 368 5819 (Freephone UK) or 00353 1 518 0277 (International), or visit the UBHeard portal.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

  • At the University we offer confidential advice and support for those wishing to discuss problems related to the use of drugs, alcohol and addiction. Register with our Mental Health and Wellbeing Service for therapeutic support.

Worried About a Friend

Please visit our Worried about a friend intranet page.

Alcohol and You Self-Help Guide

Aquarius - Alcohol, Drugs and Gambling

  • Aquarius provides support overcoming the harms caused by alcohol, drugs and gambling.

Release - Drugs and Drugs Law

  • Release is the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law, providing free confidential specialist advice.

Talk to Frank - Drugs Awareness


  • Drinkaware offer information and advice on drinking and alcohol units.

NHS Choices

  • NHS Choices is an NHS website detailing a range of health issues, including alcohol and drug use.

Drink Break

  • Drink Break provide support for people with alcohol problems.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Change, Grow, Live (CGL)

Change Grow Live (CGL) offer treatment and recovery services to support anyone experiencing difficulties with drugs and/or alcohol in a range of local community settings across Birmingham. You can also download the Staying Free app, which offers interactive support (available on Android and Apple). 


GamCare - Provides free, confidential advice and support. Call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133


GAMSTOP - By signing up to GAMSTOP you can block yourself from all UK licensed gambling sites for a period of your choosing, for free. 


GamBan - Blocking software to block gambling apps from your devices.

Gamblers Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous - Get support from others also struggling with gambling.  

YGAM - specialist support for students

YGAM- YGAM have a student hub with information about gambling specifically created for students. 

Recover Me App

RecoverMe- A free app that helps you manage a gambling problem from your pocket. 


Professional Services