Newcastle is a vibrant city with a reputation for its nightlife. Of course, there is so much more to being a student and no one should feel under pressure to drink alcohol, we know that an exciting nightlife is one of the reasons some people choose to study here. You can enjoy yourself whilst avoiding dangerous situations because of alcohol and the information below is provided to give you some guidance on how to manage that. On this page, you can find out the ways we are working towards harm reduction around drug-use, and the services and support we have in place for students.
Alcohol & Drug Chats
At the Welfare & Support Centre (Ground floor of the Students' Union) we welcome students to drop in to Chat, get information for local services, as well to receive a range of resources to help support their wellbeing. One of the services offered is a Drug and Alcohol Chat. NUSU has partnered with Public Health Newcastle to offer a confidential space to chat and get support on your drug or alcohol use. This is a free, non-judgemental service open to all Newcastle students. Find out about these sessions by visiting our Alcohol & Drug Chat page.
Safe Drinking Tips
Check out the ways you can support yourself and others with safe drinking, and find out who you can support you. This is part of our wider Harm Reduction work at the Welfare & Support Centre (WSC) in the Students' Union.
- Eat a decent meal before you drink.
- Know your limits.
- Watch your drink! Never leave your drink unattended to prevent spiking.
- Make sure you have friends to go home with, and that you use a reliable taxi firm.
- Look out for each other. If someone is too drunk take them home or ask for help.
- Seek help if you need it. Door Security are trained to help, there is also a safe haven van managed by Northumbria Police in the city centre during busier times (see the section below for more information on who you can ask for help).
What should I look out for if I think someone has consumed too much?
There are some signs and symptoms you should be aware of if someone has consumed a lot of alcohol and is very drunk. Be aware of Alcohol Poisoning. Some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for are:
Confusion; slurred speech, loss of coordination, vomiting, irregular or slow breathing; being conscious but unresponsive; passing out and being unconscious.
When should I seek medical help?
If you are at all concerned about a friend and perhaps suspect possible alcohol poisoning, dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance. While you're waiting, you can: Try to keep them sitting up and awake; Give them water if they can drink it; Keep them warm, and stay with them.
Never leave a person alone to "sleep it off"
The level of alcohol in a person's blood can continue to rise for up to 30 to 40 minutes after their last drink. This can cause their symptoms to suddenly become much more severe. You also should not try to "sober them up" by giving them coffee or putting them under a cold shower, for example. These methods will not help and may even be dangerous. More information about alcohol poisoning can be found here.
What support is there on a night out?
If you are in a club, pub, or drinking venue, you can speak to a member of staff or security if you need assistance or help inside a pub or club.
Northumbria Police Safe Haven Van (in conjunction with NEAS - St Johns Ambulance) is also located outside St Nicolas Cathedral opposite Tup Tup from 10 pm until 3 am every Friday and Saturday night. This is an initiative that operates every Friday and Saturday evening between the hours of 10pm and 3am. They work alongside North East Ambulance Service staff and its main role is to address the vulnerabilities of persons who are in need of help during their night out. As well as being a facility that provides warmth, water, foil blankets, use of phone charging facilities, this is a safe place to speak to an officer, reporting any crimes, concerns, address wellbeing. The Safe Haven is a ‘safe’ location where officers and our partners within the NTE are able to take a vulnerable person; there they can remain until safely reunited with family/friends, safely returned home.
What support is there at the Students’ Union?
The SU has a Welfare and Support area on the ground floor and welcomes students to drop in to chat or get information for local services as well as offering a range of resources to help support your wellbeing. One of the services offered is a Drug and Alcohol drop-in. NUSU has partnered with Public Health Newcastle to offer a confidential space to chat and get support on your drug or alcohol use. This is a free, non-judgemental service open to all Newcastle students. Contact WSC.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Student Societies and AU Clubs must have a Welfare Officer. These student volunteers receive additional training on how to help in a welfare situation. They may not be around on every social but they are a good contact to have in case you need to get in touch about a welfare-related issue. They are a member of the committee so if you haven’t met them you can look them up on Facebook or other social media channels used for members.
If you need to report an issue there is more than one way you can do this. The University and Union have a way of reporting through Report and Support.
What support is there from the University?
The University's Student Health & Wellbeing Service (SHWS) provides free, confidential support to any student concerned about themselves or other students. Their support ranges from, helping you register with a GP, to informal pastoral support via Listening Ear, to ongoing counseling, help to access specialist external support services. Advice on how to help a friend or housemate, actions you can take to protect your mental health, financial support if you are in financial hardship. Remember their services are completely confidential, unless you or someone else is in immediate danger, what you tell them will be private, so you can be honest with them about the frequency and extent of your concerns so they can best help you.