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Student Guide

Alcohol and drugs

Here are some useful student support contacts and information.

Alcohol advice

How much are you drinking?

Finding out how many units of alcohol you are consuming is a good start when it comes to looking after your health.

Alcohol Concern has a helpful calculator so you can see exactly how many units you are consuming and what this could mean for your health. Calculate your alcohol units now.

Benefits of drinking less

There are many health benefits of cutting down the amount you drink, including:

  • Weight loss – alcohol is seriously fattening. Four pints could be the equivalent of eating a hot dog and a burger, with a doughnut for dessert. Cutting back on the amount you drink could see your waistline shrink!
  • Clear skin – drinking dehydrates you and deprives the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. So swap the zit-zapping cream and that extra pint for a glass of the clear stuff.
  • Mental health – too much alcohol can lead to sleepless nights, stress, anxiety and memory loss – not what you want when studying for a degree!
  • At less risk of developing serious illnesses – the more you drink the more likely you are to develop liver disease, some cancers, heart disease, brain damage, infertility, dementia and the list goes on. Read more on the NHS website.

Tips for cutting down on alcohol

Try these simple tips to help reduce the amount of alcohol you drink and improve your overall health.

  • Let your friends and family know so they can help you cut-down
  • Drink smaller measures of alcohol
  • Set a limit for how much you will spend on alcohol
  • Try a mocktail or lower-strength options
  • Drink a pint of water before you start drinking
  • Avoid drinking everyday
  • Don’t binge drink or pre-load. Avoid drinking lots before you go out in order to save money. Research suggests that this doesn’t save you money and it might cut your night short.
  • Download the NHS’s Drinks Tracker app to keep track of how much alcohol you’re drinking.

Get support

If you need support, talk to a trained adviser from Forward Trust about your drinking habits and how to cut-down. Forward Trust run drop-in sessions on Thursdays, from 14.00-16.00, on the Canterbury campus during term-time. No appointment is necessary, just go to the Student Support and Wellbeing reception in Keynes.

Useful links


Dangerous drinks

Avoid getting spiked by following these safety measures:

  • Don’t leave your drink unattended
  • Never accept a drink from a stranger or someone you don’t trust
  • If you feel ill, slightly drunk or wasted when you know you shouldn’t, your drink could have been spiked. If so, tell someone you trust and get to a safe place

The University's Policy

We also recommend you familiarise yourself with the University's Alcohol Policy.


Drugs advice

Whatever your attitude is towards drugs, we want you to be aware of the risks. This includes risks to your health and wellbeing, as well as legal consequences.

The best way to stay safe is to avoid drugs but here are some things to consider:

  • Everyone's tolerance to drugs is different
  • Mixing substances (including alcohol) can be unpredictable and dangerous
  • You can never be sure of an illegal drug's strength or content
  • Tell your friends if you have taken drugs in case of any difficulties. Also, if you know one of your friends has taken drugs, look out for them to help keep them safe.

For more drugs related advice, visit the Talk to Frank website.

Warning: Public Health England has recently issued a warning about particularly dangerous drugs, which mimic cannabis and MDMA (ecstasy), in circulation in the region. Users have experienced life threatening symptoms including agitation, delirium and loss of consciousness. Read the full Public Health Statement.

The truth about legal highs

Legal or herbal highs are designed to mimic drugs (e.g. cocaine or cannabis) but may not have been tested for human consumption. New drugs are developed all the time but we don't know the long-term effects on the brain and body.

The new 'Psychoactive Substances Act' means that it's now illegal to supply any ‘legal highs’ or 'herbal highs' for human consumption. This includes selling or giving psychoactive substances to anyone for free, even to friends.

Punishments range from a formal warning to seven years in prison.

Get support

If you need support, you can speak to one of our trained advisers in the Wellbeing Team. Other places you can go for advice include:

The University's Policy

We also recommend you familiarise yourself with the University's Drugs Policy.

Wellbeing Team If you need help regarding drugs and alcohol you can speak to our trained advisers in confidence.

Advice Centre

You can go to Kent Union's/ GK Unions' Advice Centre [8] with any of your questions or concerns.

If they can't help they will know who can! [9]

Corporate Communications - University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000