When you arrive at University you may soon become all too familiar with a "drinking culture" and, like in most big cities, drugs will be available in Oxford. The aim of this page is to provide you with information about alcohol and drugs and to equip you with resources for places to turn, if either become a problem for you, or your friends, whilst at Oxford.


If you would like to find out more about drugs and the law in the UK, visit Home office information on different drugs and legal sanctions. Release is a national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law, which provides free and confidential specialist advice to the public and professionals. As well as the illegal drugs we all hear about in the press, you may be faced with offers of "legal highs" and "smart drugs".

Smart Drugs

The term "study drugs" or "smart drugs" refers to prescription drugs used to increase concentration and stamina for the purpose of studying or cramming. Using or buying these medications without a prescription is illegal. Selling your own prescription is also illegal. There are potential health risks associated with taking drugs not prescribed for you. Users of study drugs can never be certain what the effects might be. The Student Advice Service have a new project called BeSMART which offers a stand alone workshop for college common rooms to inform and raise awareness about study drugs. To book a BeSMARTworkshop for your college or department, ask your welfare officer to get in touch with the the Student Advice Service on advice@ousu.ox.ac.uk.

Legal Highs

"Legal highs" are substances used like illegal drugs but which are not covered by current misuse of drugs legislation. Although these drugs are marketed as legal substances, this doesn’t mean that they are safe or approved for people to use. It just means that they’ve not been declared illegal to use and possess.

Independent Advice

The Student Advice Service is the only free, independent and confidential advice, information and advocacy service exclusively available to Oxford University Students. If you have concerns or want more information please get in touch.

Get Involved

The Vice President Welfare and Equal Opportunities is available to speak with anyone wanting to campaign in college on issues connected with drugs and alcohol.

Local Resources

National Resources

For more information on drugs or to get help and support with a drug problem, visit:

Drinking Alcohol

Here are some top tips for keeping in control of alcohol rather than letting alcohol control you:

College Resources

If you feel as though alcohol is affecting your health and you need advice and support make an appointment with your College GP. They will be able to go through the options available to you.

University Resources

If there is a reason behind why you are consuming too much alcohol and you wish to speak with a counsellor about this, make an appointment with the University Counselling Service. A trained counsellor may be able to help you consider the options available in order to resolve the issues affecting you.

If you are concerned you may wish to consider speaking to an Advisor at the Student Advice Service.

  • Food: eat before or while you drink. It will moderate the effects of alcohol in your system.
  • Water: alcohol dehydrates you, so drink water whilst consuming alcohol. Your hangover will not be as severe in the morning.
  • Units: find out your daily unit limit so you can drink and stay in control.
  • Buddy System: If you’re going out drinking then think about getting a friend to keep an eye on you - you can do the same in return.
  • Safety: make sure you know how you’ll be getting home. Put taxi numbers in your mobile and keep enough cash to get home