General Information

Alcohol and drugs

Alcohol

The NHS advise that women should drink no more than 2-3 units and men 3-4 units of alcohol regularly without damaging their health. ‘Regularly’ in this instance means drinking this amount every day or most days of the week. (1 unit is equal to 10ml of pure alcohol).

University policy

The University’s Alcohol and Drug Policy states that:

‘The University is committed to promoting the health and wellbeing of its employees but what staff do in their private lives is generally outside the scope of this policy unless it affects their work and interferes with the legitimate work-related activities of other members of the University.’ ‘The University is committed to offering information and guidance to help individuals find professional help and to ensuring that they are treated sensitively.’

Social drinking

Those who see themselves merely as ‘social drinkers’ should be aware that drinking regularly increases the risk of cancers, strokes and heart attacks. The NHS Choices website has further information about the long term health implications of ‘social drinking’.

It is always a benefit to be well informed.  The Change4LifeOneYou Drinks Tracker enables you to track your drinking over weeks and months, calculate the number of units in different drinks and receive tips and feedback on how to reduce your drinking.

Drinking and driving

Alcohol is a depressant. Small amounts affect drivers’ reaction times, judgment and coordination. It can create impairment, false confidence, risk taking and lack of control. The speed of alcohol absorption and detoxification depends on weight, sex, metabolism and health, how much you have drunk, how long you drank for, the number of units consumed, how much sleep you have had, when and what you last ate.

There’s no way of knowing exactly how long it takes to sober up completely after drinking. Please be safe and do not drive the day after you think you have consumed alcohol to excess.

The University has a policy for staff that are required to drive on University business.

Alcohol and you

If you would like more information on alcohol related issues, such as its impact upon mental health and wellbeing and its physical effects on the body, visit the Drinkaware website.

For further information on the volume of alcohol that you are consuming and information on how to make a lifestyle change, visit www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice/ or www.nhs.uk/livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx.

If you are concerned about a friend, family member or colleague, there is support and guidance available through www.adfam.org.uk/. Adfam can give advice and put you in touch with local support.

Drugs

Many people are required to take prescribed medication on a short term or perhaps long term basis. It is important to be aware of the effects and side effects of any medication, as some medicines can affect concentration or the ability to drive or operate machinery. It is advisable to read the leaflet supplied with any medication carefully. If you are in any doubt, contact your GP or pharmacist.

In accordance with the University’s Alcohol and Drug Policy, employees who are taking medicines that may impair their performance may seek advice from their GP, pharmacist or from Occupational Health Service and should inform their line manager or Occupational Health to establish whether they can temporarily adjust their activities or take on duties which are compatible with their treatment.

Assistance and referral

If you are concerned about the behaviour of a colleague or member of staff, the signs and symptoms listed in the University’s Alcohol and Drug Policy may help you. There is also specific guidance for managers in the policy.

If you are concerned as an individual regarding alcohol or drug dependence or you are a manager with concerns about a member of your staff, Referrals can be made in complete confidence to the Occupational Health Service.

Sources of guidance and advice