Alcohol misuse

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Alcohol misuse means drinking at excessive and unsafe levels. It is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.

In Waltham Forest, there were 370 deaths attributable to alcohol in the borough between 2007 and 2017

Alcohol consumption is measured in units. A unit of alcohol is 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:

  • Half a pint of normal-strength lager
  • A single measure (25ml) of spirits
  • 85ml of wine (A small glass of wine is 125ml and contains about 1.5 units of alcohol)

Current guidance recommends that people should keep track of their intake, and not drink more than recommended amounts:

  • Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
  • Spread your drinking over three or more days and take a break from alcohol two days a week if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
  • Pregnant women should avoid drinking altogether

Visit Drinkcoach Waltham Forest to find out how risky your drinking is and to track and cut down your drinking and download a free app for your smartphone visit drinking coach. 

If you would like specialist information or support about drinking habits, or you or a family member have a family member affected by drugs or alcohol contact CGL Waltham Forest on 0203 826 9600.



Where to get help Click to get info

  • DrinkCoach Waltham Forest offer an assessment for residents to check on how risky their drinking is, and offer personalised online advice based on the results. Video support sessions with an alcohol specialist are also available for Waltham Forest residents scoring as increasing or higher risk. Use the code WFPROMO on the booking page (available to adults over 18 only)

If you are a professional and would like Drinkcoach resources to raise awareness among your staff and service users, please contact  Laura

  • CGL Waltham Forest  offers a free confidential service for residents who are concerned about their drinking or need help to change their drug use. They offer a range of support and treatment options including one to one support or counselling, group and family work, detoxification and medicine-assisted treatment. Find out more about treatment options.

CGL’s Family and Carers Support Service offer support and advice for families affected by drugs and alcohol, including counselling and family interventions (More information).

CGL Young People’s service offers a free confidential drug and alcohol service for young people under 18 (including young offenders) and families in the borough. They also work with young people with parents or carers affected by drugs/ alcohol misuse.

To make a referral or for more information contact the team:

Risk of alcohol misuse Click to get info


The short-term risks of alcohol misuse include:

  • Accidents and injuries requiring hospital treatment, such as a head injury
  • Loss of inhibition, which could lead to unprotected sex, increased risk of violent behaviours and other more ‘risky’ behaviours
  • Alcohol poisoning - this may lead to vomiting, seizures (fits) and falling unconscious

People who binge drink (drink heavily over a short period of time) are more likely to behave recklessly and are at greater risk of being in an accident.


Persistent alcohol misuse increases your risk of serious health conditions, including:

Read more about the risks of alcohol misuse.

CGL Young People’s service offers a free confidential drug and alcohol service for young people under 18 (including young offenders) and families in the borough. They also work with young people with parents or carers affected by drugs/ alcohol misuse.

Contact: 0203 404 1098 or email 

Types of support available through CGL YP

  • Comprehensive assessment and care planning for young people
  • One- to- one therapeutic interventions
  • Group work programs
  • Information, support and training for families, carers and professionals
  • Education and awareness workshops
  • Support with ETE opportunities
  • Peer mentoring opportunities
  • Advocacy
  • Referrals to relevant services  

    Read the following factsheets with important information on various topics relating to alcohol


    Factsheets relating to how alcohol affects various health conditions can be found.