Shropshire Council

Support with alcohol and drugs dependencies

If you are worried you are a dependent drinker or need further help and advice on drug use, please contact Shropshire Recovery Partnership (part of the We Are With You organisation) on 01743 294700 or the free confidential online chat service, available:

  • weekdays - between 10am-4pm and also 6pm-9pm
  • weekends: 11am-4pm.

Alcohol and coronavirus (Covid-19)

The current measures to restrict movement to reduce the spread of coronavirus means you are not able to meet with friends and socialise as you would, shop regularly and even go to work. It can mean you feel isolated, your mental health and well-being may start to suffer and you may change your drinking habits, or start to drink more frequently. Prior to the current situation you may already have been concerned about your level of drinking or that of others close to you. The information below provides some helpful tips on how to keep well now and reduce health risks in the future.

What are the current guidelines?

The Chief Medical Officers’ guideline for both men and women states that:

  • To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
  • If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it's best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days. You increase your risk of long-term illness and injury if you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week.
  • The more you drink on a regular basis, the more your risk increases of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast).

If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days a week. One You have produced a range of resources to help you keep healthy including a drink free day app.

What is a unit?

  • One unit is 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. Because drinks come in different strengths and sizes, units are a way to tell how strong your drink is.
  • It takes an average adult around an hour to process one unit of alcohol so that there's none left in their bloodstream, although this varies from person to person. Weight, size and gender can impact on the way alcohol is processed through the body.
  • A number of apps and online tools are available to help you manage and monitor drink free days, record your units and help you assess your drinking habits.

For more advice and information please take a look at:

If you feel you need support to reduce or stop your current level of drinking please contact Shropshire Recovery Partnership on 01743 294700. The service provides support across the county.

Alcohol and dependency

If you do start to experience withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, nausea or headache after several hours without a drink, please do not stop drinking suddenly as these signs mean that you are likely to be physically dependent on alcohol and you will go into alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal and has serious complications if undertaken without medication, you may experience symptoms like seizures and confusion with hallucinations.

If you experience a seizure, become confused, start to see or hear things which others cannot hear, develop double vision or become unsteady on your feet, you should call an ambulance on 999 or ask someone you live with to call an ambulance.

Other support available

Drug dependency

Not all drug dependency is about illegal drugs. You may have become dependent on over the counter and prescription drugs. If you are dependent on prescription drugs or over the counter drugs then you should contact your GP.

Please do not take any drugs, including prescription drugs that you have brought online without a prescription. Even if you have used the drugs before on prescription, please seek advice from your GP if you feel you need these drugs again.

If you take illegal substances, you may find your usual supply is not available, or the costs may have surged. Shropshire Recovery Partnership can help you, please contact them on 01743 294700 or the free confidential online chat service, available: weekdays - between 10am-4pm and 6pm-9pm; and on weekends: 11am-4pm.

lf you use opiates, such as heroin and you stop using them you may find yourself going into an unplanned withdrawal. This can be unpleasant and uncomfortable and it is better to be supported through a medically assisted withdrawal. You may experience the following symptoms:

  • Slow breathing
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Clammy cold skin
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea

It is very rare anyone experiences any severe complications from withdrawing from drugs, however, if you are concerned about your symptoms please ring the NHS 111 line and tell them you are withdrawing from drugs. Do not ring an ambulance, go to the hospital or your GP surgery, unless you are told to do so by NHS 111.
Shropshire Recovery Partnership can give you further help and advice on drug use please contact them by telephone on 01743 294700 or use the online chat service.

Please carry naloxone at all times, ambulances are extremely busy in the current crisis and may take a little longer to get to you. Ensure your loved ones, family members and those you have regular contact with, know how to administer naloxone should you overdose, it will save your life. Shropshire Recovery Partnership can provide you with naloxone.

Page updated: 6 October.