Substance misuse

We understand that students coming to University may use a range of substances, including alcohol, prescription drugs, study enhancing substances and/or illicit drugs. Loughborough University does not tolerate drug use and may take disciplinary action against individuals unless they are disclosing drug use in order to ask for support.

Loughborough University students need to be aware that with the right help and support, it's possible for you to get drug and/or alcohol free and stay that way (NHS 2019).

When does substance misuse become a problem?

There are students who use substances and experience no side effects or detrimental effects on their life and studies. However; some students become dependent on substances to cope with emotions, manage mental ill health or the stressors of academic study.

Students tend to be subjected to common narratives surrounding alcohol like ‘socializing’, ‘managing stress’ or being with mates. However, if you regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol then this will be having an impact on your mood, physical health and ability to engage in academic work.

Transitions to University can also come with peer pressure and access to substances that were not previously available: Everyone has different reactions to substances; they alter mood, thinking and behaviour. People’s reasons for using substances vary. If you have become dependent on any substance to cope with day to day life this is an indication that you should seek support.

Is there anything I can do to reduce the risk?

The points below may reduce the risk of harm however this list is not exhaustive.

  • Tell someone what you are using, then they can raise the alarm if you become medically unwell
  • Mixing any drug with another drug increases the risk of dangerous side effects. This includes alcohol.
  • Remember that different drugs act at different speeds, and a slow response does not necessarily mean that the drug is weak – it may mean you have taken a slow-acting drug which could in fact be strong. Redosing could lead to overdose.
  • Some drugs are especially risky to mix. This includes:
    • cocaine and alcohol;
    • opioids (such as heroin or morphine) and downers /depressants (such as benzos), alcohol or other opioids such as tramadol.

Some people experience suicidal thoughts and feelings after taking drugs, especially after a binge. If you are concerned about yourself or another user, make sure you talk to someone like a GP, a substance misuse service locally, this is Turning Point, or a mental health service on 0808 800 3302 immediately.

Turning Point drug and alcohol support

Can I access support off campus?

You can self-refer to Turning Point who will offer a initial assessment, then provide a care plan, this may include group programs or 1:1 support.

Talk to Frank is a online resource which explains types of substance alongside self-help.

Talking therapy may help to resolve any underlying issues relating to substance use, you can self-refer to Let’s talk wellbeing

Turning Point Talk to Frank Let's talk wellbeing

Will I get in trouble if I ask for help from the University?


Although students should be mindful of the legal implications of their drug and/or alcohol use, students should also be assured that if you disclose problematic substance use in order to access support, this is regarded by Loughborough University as a confidential issue that will be treated with sensitivity.

What would a Student Services Adviser do to support me?

A Student Services Adviser would work with you to look at a bespoke package of harm reduction (promoting safe reduction of usage, accessing needle exchange, providing education surrounding risk and safety planning). Look at any triggers and stressors to the substance use and support with those. Working towards recovery and abstinence. Supporting to engage with academic studies.

Report to the University online