Alcohol and Drugs

Substance abuse has a major impact on individuals, families, and communities. The effects of substance abuse are cumulative, significantly contributing to costly social, physical, mental, and public health problems. These problems include Crime, Homicide, Suicide, Teenage Pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, STDs, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Motor Vehicle Crashes and Physical Fights.


According to Alcohol Change UK:

Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages; and in England, there are an estimated 586,780 dependent drinkers, of whom 82% are not accessing treatment.

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.¬†

This is one unit of alcohol...

You can use the LEPH approach and resources to help someone that you are concerned about relating to alcohol consumption. Contacting a local support organisation or an outreach service, could potentially provide the support they need.


The UK is among the countries in Europe most affected by drugs and demand for them across the population is too high, over three million adults reported using drugs in England and Wales in the last year and one in three 15-year-olds said they took drugs in 2018. The government have recently published a 10-year plan to cut crime and save lives by reducing the supply and demand for drugs and delivering a high-quality treatment and recovery system. To view the report click on this link:

UK 10 Year Drug Strategy

The social and economic cost of drug supply in England and Wales is estimated to be ¬£10.7 billion a year ‚Äď just over half of which (¬£6 billion) is attributed to drug-related acquisitive crime (e.g. burglary, robbery, shoplifting). Drug-related and drug-enabled activities are key drivers of both new and traditional crime: the possession of illicit substances; the crimes committed to fund drug dependence; the production and supply of harmful substances perpetrated by serious and organised criminals alongside drug market violence associated with human trafficking and modern slavery. The police therefore have been asked to play a crucial role, enforcing the law and offering support to problem drug users.

Very Brief Intervention


People who use drugs or high levels of alcohol can often be labelled as chaotic, non-compliant and challenging. Often they are trying to find a way of coping with difficult things that have happened to them.

Reaching out to someone who we think may have a problem with drugs or alcohol consumption can be so impactful, treat them how you’d like to be treated.

Initial Contact - Do you mind if I ask you a question about alcohol/drugs?

  • This question may be prompted by some verbal or visual signs i.e. there is evidence of drinking or drug taking, demeanour and behaviour.

Do you need any help? Have you got a safe place go to?

Have you been in contact with any support services relating to alcohol/drugs?

Would you like us to contact someone for you?


You may want to use the below alcohol harm assessment questions to establish risk for that person

Total Scoring :
‚óŹ 0 to 7 indicates low risk
‚óŹ 8 to 15 indicates increasing risk
‚óŹ 16 to 19 indicates higher risk
‚óŹ 20 or more indicates possible dependence


You may want to ask what drug/s the individual has consumed as this will help to target the appropriate support services

The five most widely used substances are: Heroin, Crack Cocaine, Cocaine Powder, Cannabis and Synthetic drugs (such as MDMA and amphetamines) but there are many other substances that officers may encounter.

FRANK, a drug information website offers an A to Z drug search tool with extensive information about a range of substances i.e. how it looks, tastes and smells and risks associated with it. You will also find slang or street terms for substances here.

Tel for advice: 0300 1236600 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

If someone is having a bad time on drugs they may be:

  • anxious
  • tense
  • panicky
  • overheated and dehydrated
  • drowsy
  • having difficulty with breathing

The first things you should do are:

  • stay calm
  • calm them and be reassuring - don‚Äôt scare them or chase after them
  • try to find out what they‚Äôve taken
  • stay with them (if feasible)


What you can do to help depends on the particular circumstances and needs of the individual. Do they need immediate medical attention or referral to Alcohol or Drug support services?

Please click on the below regional links for information about Alcohol and Drug support services relating to your locality.

In less serious circumstances relating to alcohol and drug consumption you may want to highlight some of the benefits to reducing alcohol and drug intake

Save Money, Improved relationships, Improved sleep, Reduced risk of injury, More alert and higher performing at work, Reduced risk of high blood pressure, Reduced risk of cancer and Reduced risk of liver disease



Do you think the person would benefit from some further support to reduce their drinking or drug taking to 'lower risk' levels? You can make the following recommendations:

Speak to your GP or a loved one


Drinkline - 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. 

Tel: 0300 1231110 (Mon-Fri 9am - 8pm, weekends 11am - 4pm).

'One You' drink less App - If the person has a smartphone they can download the 'one you' drink less app designed to make it easy to keep an eye on alcohol consumption and take control with daily tips and feedback.


Call FRANK FRANK is a national drug information service with factfiles and FAQs.

Tel: 0300 1236600 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or Text 82111 

Narcotics Anonymous  - A non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a problem. They are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only ONE requirement for membership, the desire to stop using.

Tel: 0300 9991212 (10.00am to midnight)  


Local Support and Contact Details