Addiction to alcohol and drugs

Drug and alcohol addiction cause serious health risks, but are treatable conditions. Find help and support to stop drinking or taking drugs.

The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. In the case of substance misuse (for example, drugs and alcohol), an addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects.

With the right help and support, it's possible for you to get drug and alcohol free and stay that way.

Realising you have a problem with alcohol is the first big step to getting help.

You may need help if:

  • you often feel the need to have a drink 
  • you get into trouble because of your drinking
  • other people warn you about how much you're drinking
  • you think your drinking is causing you problems 

Read the NHS alcohol support page for more information.

Our drink less page encourages a healthy relationship with alcohol, with links to the One You: Drink Less apps which provide tools, support and encouragement to help improve your health right away, work out how much you are drinking and the ways you can cut back.

Where to get help for drug and alcohol addiction

Your GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment.

  • North Yorkshire Horizons is a service offering a range of free, confidential and non-judgemental services for individuals and their families whose lives are affected by drugs or alcohol. Anyone can make a referral, including individuals, family members and professionals. When you join, a key worker  will support you through your treatment and help you develop a recovery plan that's built around you and your circumstances. A range of support is available including structured counselling, day programmes, and detox or rehab services. You can access the service from anywhere you live in North Yorkshire by calling 01723 330730 (9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday) or via email on
  • Compass REACH helps young people who are struggling with risk taking behaviour to make lifestyle changes to improve their long-term health, resilience and emotional wellbeing.

Help and advice on alcohol and drug related issues

  • NHS - drinking and alcohol includes information and support about alcohol abuse and addiction, and links to support services for those with alcohol problems and their families, including detoxification and rehabilitation.
  • NHS - drug addiction is a guide to different types of drug treatment and what they involve.
  • Alcohol Concern helps people through offering information, advice and guidance
  • You can call the national helpline, Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
  • Alcoholics Anonymous provide help with a drinking problem at or phone the national help line free on 0800 9177 650.
  • SMART Recovery helps people recover from addictive behaviour and lead meaningful and satisfying lives.
  • FRANK the drugs helpline, offers information and advice to anyone concerned about drugs use. You can call the 0300 123 6600 helpline number 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to speak to a trained advisor in confidence. The advice is free. You can also contact FRANK via instant messenger between 2pm – 6pm, email, or text 82111.
  • Rise Above is a health and well-being website for young people. It offers advice and tips for young people making decisions around a range of topics including sex, drugs, alcohol and smoking.
  • You may also want to consider doing the NHS depression self-assessment.

Help for families and carers

Training for staff and employees

  • Alcohol identification and brief advice (IBA) training is delivered by Drugtrain to non-specialist frontline staff that have contact with adults as part of their job or voluntary work. The aim of the training is to increase early identification of problematic drinking, and to reduce the harm from alcohol for individuals, families and communities in North Yorkshire. If you are interested in accessing this free training please visit the Drugtrain website.

Alcohol is the third biggest risk factor for ill health and death in the UK after tobacco and high blood pressure and can contribute to more than 60 medical conditions such as throat and mouth cancers, liver cirrhosis and dementia.

The more people drink, the greater the risk to their health, and for people with a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure or are suffering from depression or anxiety, alcohol often makes life worse.

The guidelines for alcohol consumption recommend establishing sensible drinking as the norm as a way that is unlikely to cause harm to yourself or others, and also concluded based on recent findings that there is no justification for drinking for health reasons.

See the NHS Choices pages below for more information on drugs: