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Substance misuse is the use of any drug causing an adverse effect on an individual’s health and wellbeing. This can include alcohol consumption.

The impacts of substance misuse are not confined to the individual, but have broad and occasionally profound impacts on the community. This can include families, schools, children, parents, carers and businesses.  

Alcohol misuse

Drinking alcohol is seen by many as a normal part of socialising with friends and family, and it plays a significant role in many celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. Some people also find a drink after a busy day provides stress relief.

However, alcohol misuse is when you drink in a way which is harmful or when you are dependent on alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can cause a number of health problems, including:

  • Cancer
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Strokes
  • Liver disease

Find out more about the health effects of alcohol.

Alcohol units guidance

To help keep risks from alcohol to a low level, men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

Learn more about alcohol units and what’s in your drink.

Reducing your drinking

Cutting down on drinking can reduce your calorie intake and help you lose weight, reduce your spending and improve your sleep and mental wellbeing.

The NHS provides advice for reducing alcohol consumption.

Drug misuse

Drug misuse is when a person regularly takes one or more drugs to change their mood, emotion or state of consciousness.

One of the biggest risks of drug misuse is the development of a drug addiction, which may increase the risk of long-term health issues, lead to social disconnect and impact community safety.

The NHS provides more information about drug addiction.

How to get help

Richmond Community Drug and Alcohol Service provides free, recovery focused, evidence-based treatment for residents of Richmond who are living with drug and alcohol problems.  

The service offers:  

  • Advice and information on substance misuse 
  • Specialist blood borne virus (BBV) testing and support including hepatitis C treatment 
  • Needle exchange 
  • Recovery and peer mentoring 
  • Relapse prevention 
  • Abstinent and non-abstinent day programmes
  • Prescribing for detoxification, establish stabilisation, or to support recovery 
  • Community alcohol treatment 
  • Assessment for funded abstinent based treatment and residential rehabilitation 
  • Psychology and counselling services
  • Smoking cessation clinics 
  • Support for people experiencing domestic violence and abuse 
  • Specialist substance misuse social work support 
  • Housing and legal advice

Get in contact with the service by telephone on 020 3228 3020 or email  

You can also speak to your GP for advice and support.  

Help for young people

The Richmond Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Support Service is a team of experienced professionals from a range of backgrounds and training, including drug workers, youth workers, outreach workers, counsellors and psychotherapists.

For more information, contact the Single Point of Access by telephone on 020 8547 5008

Getting it on also provides more information, advice and available local services.

Wider support

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about has an alcohol or drug use problem, there are many support lines that you can contact for free and confidential advice.

Drinkaware provides a directory of national drug and alcohol support lines.

Updated: 11 May 2023

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