Alcohol & Drugs

Did you know that men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units per week.  By reducing your alcohol intake to less than 14 units a week, this is considered low-risk drinking. It's called "low risk" rather than "safe" because there is no safe drinking level.

Benefits of Cutting Down

There are so many benefits to reducing your alcohol consumption, some you may expect and others that may be a welcome surprise. Not only is it good for your general health, improving your appearance and how you feel, drinking less will have a positive impact on other aspects of your life including your relationships and work.

Very Brief Intervention


Do you mind if I ask you a question about alcohol?

  • This question may be promoted from some verbal or visual prompts i.e. the person has stated that they have a hangover or there is evidence of drinking in the home etc

How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?

  • If the answer given indicates around 4 or more times a week you may wish to consider asking how many drinks do they have on each of these occasions, explain that unit measures can be quite confusing and offer to explain a simple unit measurement guide.
  • The principle behind understanding units and applying these to the guideline is important. Essentially, the greater the dose consumed, the greater the chance of unwanted effects.

This is one unit...

The Chief Medical Officers (CMO) guideline for both men and women states that:

  • To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis¬†
  • If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it's best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days¬†
  • If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days a week.¬†

Healthcare professionals are advised to use the questions within the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption (AUDIT C)

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption (AUDIT C) 


State some of many benefits to reducing alcohol intake

  • Save Money¬†
  • Improved relationships
  • Reduce calorie intake/lose weight
  • Improved fertility if you are trying for a baby
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Fewer hangovers
  • More alert and higher performing at work
  • Reduced risk of high blood presure
  • Reduced risk of cancer
  • Reduced risk of liver disease



Do you think you would benefit from some further support to reduce your drinking to 'lower risk' levels?

  • Speak to your GP, a loved one or call Drinkline 0300 1231110 (Mon-Fri 9am - 8pm, weekends 11am - 4pm). The¬†Drinkline service provides free, confidential, accurate and consistent information and advice to callers who are concerned about their own or someone else`s drinking regardless of the caller`s age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or spirituality.
  • The 'One You' drinks tracker app makes it easy to keep an eye on the booze and take control with daily tips and feedback.
  • NHS Better Health¬†have a 'Drink Free Days' app and tips on how to reduce alcohol consumption.¬†
  • Mutual Aid services including twelve step programmes and Smart Recovery are available to anyone who wants support to address their drug or alcohol use. You can find a meeting here:


Further tips on cutting down

Make a plan
Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you're going to drink.

Set a budget
Only take a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol.

Let them know
If you let your friends and family know you're cutting down and it's important to you, you could get support from them.

Take it a day at a time
Cut back a little each day. That way, every day you do is a success.

Make it a smaller one
You can still enjoy a drink, but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.

Have a lower-strength drink
Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You'll find this information on the bottle.

Stay hydrated
Have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or a soft drink.

Take a break
Have several drink-free days each week.  

Local Support and Contact Details