Alcohol and Drug Awareness

Information on risks and support services in Portsmouth

If you are worried about your alcohol use or concerned about anyone else that drinks too much, you can find out more about alcohol risks, alcohol units and alcohol support services in Portsmouth in the information below.

How much is too much?

Units are used to measure the amount of alcohol in different drinks. Alcoholic drinks are served in different measures and have different strengths so it is useful to know how many units are in your drink.

No-one can say that drinking alcohol is absolutely safe, but by sticking within these guidelines, you can lower your risk of harming your health if you drink most weeks:

  • Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
  • Spread your drinking over three or more days if you drink as much as 14 units a week.
  • Try to have at least 2-3 alcohol free days a week.

Count up your units using Drinkaware’s unit calculator.

What are the risks of drinking?

RiskMenWomenCommon effects
Lower riskNo more than 3-4 units per day on a regular basisNo more than 2-3 units per day on a regular basisIncreased relaxation, sociability, reduced risk of heart disease (for men over 40 and post menopausal women)
Increasing riskMore than 3-4 units per day on a regular basisMore than 2-3 units per day on a regular basisProgressively increasing risk of: low energy, depression, insomnia, impotence, high blood pressure, memory loss, cancer, liver disease, alcohol dependence
Higher riskMore than 8 units per day on a regular basis or more than 50 units per weekMore than 6 units per day on a regular basis or more than 35 units per weekProgressively increasing risk of: low energy, depression, insomnia, impotence, high blood pressure, memory loss, cancer, liver disease, alcohol dependence

Why should I reduce my alcohol intake?

If you drink at the ‘increasing risk’ or ‘higher risk’ levels shown above then reducing the amount of alcohol you drink will have great benefits to you and others around you. See below for the different benefits it can have.

Physical benefits of reducing drinking

By reducing the amount you drink you can reduce your risk of injury, high blood pressure, cancer, liver disease and impotence for men.

You’ll sleep better, have more energy, improve your memory, avoid hangovers and you may lose weight as alcohol is high in calories.

Social, financial and wellbeing benefits

Drinking less alcohol will help improve your mood, save you money and help you to have better relationships. You’ll have more time to do the things you want to do and if you have children they’ll be less likely to drink heavily.

You can reduce your risk of offending, being in a vulnerable situation and being a victim of a violent or sexual assault. You will also reduce the emotional strain on your family.

In the documents section below are 10 tips to help you reduce your drinking. One You also has lots of advice to help you cut back on your alcohol intake and the NHS has an alcohol support page.

Where can I get help?

There are lots of different services and support available to help you cut down or stop drinking. See below for the different options and what might work best for you.

One You Drink Free Days app

The Drink Free Days app is a simple way to help you track how many days you’re drinking. Pledge to take a few days off each week and you’ll get practical daily support to help you stick with your goals. It’s a free app. Download on the App Store or get it on Google Play.

Family Support Project

The Family Support Project is a 12-week programme in Portsmouth for families with children under 18 where a parent/parents or carer/careers are struggling to cope without alcohol or are drinking most days. A specialist worker will support the whole family by helping to identify what changes they want to make as a family and supporting them to make these together. This could include doing activities together as a family, support with parenting and increasing understanding about the impact of drinking too much. This service is free.

The Family Support Worker will also work directly with the children to help them express how they feel when their parent or carer drinks.

Contact the Family Support Project by calling 0800 138 0355, texting 07854 563004 or emailing

Drug and substance misuse

Help with recovery from drug problems

A drug is a chemical substance that acts on the brain and nervous system, changing a person’s mood, emotion or state of consciousness.

Drugs are often classified by the effect they have.

  • stimulants, such as cocaine, speed and ecstasy make people feel full of energy
  • depressants (or sedatives), such as heroin, make people feel relaxed
  • hallucinogens, such as LSD (acid), make people see, feel or hear things that are not real and give them a false sense of reality.

Drug misuse is when a person regularly takes one or more drugs to change their mood, emotion or state of consciousness.

If you are concerned about your use of drugs or other substances, then you can turn to one of the Portsmouth services below for confidential, impartial advice and information.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s drug use, then you may also find this page helpful and if you need to chat please get in touch with us here at ECASS by clicking here.

Where can I get help?

Drug services available in Portsmouth can help you stop or cut down. Recovery from drug problems is achievable. It is much easier with support.

There are a range of services including drop in sessions, peer support groups, specialist counselling and group sessions to help you and the support avialable here at ECASS.

Substitute medication (methadone) and supported detoxification are available.

Your GP can refer you to services or you can contact some services directly.

A confidential needle exchange service is available across Portsmouth. Sharing needles can lead to serious health problems. These are the pharmacies offering needle exchange.

Meet recovering addicts to help you along your journey

There are several peer-supported drug recovery services in Portsmouth that you can get in contact with:

Find out more about drug misuse

For further useful information feel free to go to any of the following sites:

  • FRANK is the national drug advice service
  • Recovery Hub for access to drug and alcohol support services
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