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.

New  guidelines for alcohol consumption (pdf / 323 KB), produced by the UK Chief Medical Officers (2016) 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.

Drinking guidelines for both men and women

You are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level.

If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more. If you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you increase your risks of death from long-term illnesses and from accidents and injuries.


If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

Local services

  • 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 and / or alcohol, and who live within North Yorkshire. Services are delivered via a range of local service hubs, coordinated through a single point of contact telephone number: 01723 330730 (9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday) or via email on Anyone can make a referral to the North Yorkshire Horizons service e.g. self-referrals, family members and professionals.
  • Compass REACH helps young people who are engaged in risk taking behaviour to make sustainable lifestyle changes to improve their long-term health, resilience and emotional wellbeing.
  • 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.

Other help and advice on alcohol related issues

Useful sources of information

  • One You for 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
  • NHS Choices - drinking and alcohol for information on the risks of drinking too much
  • Change4Life provides information about cutting down on alcohol and includes a downloadable drink tracker app

North Yorkshire partnerships resources

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