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Alcohol & Substance Misuse

Close up image of red wine being poured in to a wine glass against a white background.

Alcohol Reduction

To improve your body’s ability to cope with any future treatments, it is important you make sure you are drinking within the recommended limits, or lower than those limits.  

Cutting back on the booze can be a really effective way to improve your health, boost your energy, lose weight and save money.

Any reduction in the amount you drink every week will be beneficial – and with the right help, it's easier than you think.

You do not necessarily need to go teetotal to feel the benefits of drinking less.

Even just setting and sticking to a few drink-free days a week, or swapping to lower-strength drinks, are great steps in the right direction.

Here are some practical things you can try to help you cut back.

Often people are not aware of the recommended alcohol limits.  If you drink most weeks, to keep health risks low, you are advised to:

  • not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis (both men and women)
  • spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week

If you drink 14 units, that is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.


Useful tips:

Eat before you drink alcohol

Did you know that alcohol will be absorbed more slowly when you eat a meal that includes protein and carbohydrates (eg chicken or pizza) before or whilst drinking?

Our Tip – If you think you’re drinking too much, set yourself the goal of only drinking when you’re eating.


Pace your drinks, put the glass down between each sip; take smaller sips

Have you noticed that if you hold on to your glass you tend to drink more?  Take small sips occasionally rather than gulping your drink. It takes about one hour (more for women) for your liver to process one standard drink.

Our Tip - Try using a smaller glass, dilute your alcoholic drinks or switch to a lower alcohol drink. You’ll reduce your alcohol intake without even realising it.


Measure your drinks and set a limit

Do you know how many standard drinks you are drinking? At home, pour a standard drink and compare that with what you are drinking.

Our Tip - Set yourself a limit about what you will drink on a particular day. That will be you taking control of the situation.

Drug Use Reduction

It can be hard to take that first step and take a look at your drug use, but it can have a big impact on how healthy and happy you are.

Any drug can become problematic, whether it’s cocaine, prescription painkillers or cannabis. You don’t have to be taking drugs every day for it to be an issue, either. Dependence on a drug can be physical, psychological or both.

You might have noticed that you can’t do everyday things without using first, or maybe you have experienced some kind of withdrawal when you’re not using.

Other people might have seen a change in your behaviour, or you might have started taking risks that put your health or safety in danger.

If you’re thinking of taking steps to stop taking drugs or cut down, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It’s much easier to make positive changes when you’ve got help and support from other people.

Things to think about before you start are:

  • If you have a dependency, please speak to a professional before stopping using suddenly, so you can carefully manage any withdrawal symptoms.
  • Speaking to your doctor about your worries,
  • if you can, talk to family and friends about your drug use
  • Join a peer support group like Narcotics Anonymous 

Useful local resources:




Useful online resources: