Information Fact Sheets, Leaflets and Web Sites

Alcohol ConsumptionVarious organisations develop information about alcohol and drugs - their impact and how to stay safe. This page provides details of these organisations and the information they provide.

Links to web sites which provide a range of information about alcohol and drugs are in the boxes on the right hand side of this page.

Alcohol : What is a unit?

Count 14

The low risk weekly guidelines

It can be a bit tricky to understand and remember how much alcohol is in drinks, and how this can affect our health. The low risk guidelines can help with this, if you choose to drink.

No-one can say that drinking alcohol is absolutely safe, but by sticking within these guidelines, you can lower your risk of harming your health if you drink most weeks:
Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.

If you want to cut down how much you’re drinking, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.

A unit is 10ml of pure alcohol. To work out how many units are in a drink, multiply the volume (in ml) by the % abv (strength) then divide by 1000.

For example, a 750ml bottle of wine which is 13% abv would be:

750 x 13 = 9,750/1000 = 9.75 units

How to Calculate your units :

Where to go for help / National Helplines ?

Inverclyde Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service: 01475 715352  Wellpark Centre, Regent Street, Greenock

Help and information  is on hand via two national information and advice lines.

If you are affected by a drug problem, contact: Know the Score: 0800 776 600 (open 24 hours, seven days a week).

If it's alcohol that's the problem, contact: Healthy Living: 0800 917 8282 (9-11pm weekdays, 24-hours on Saturdays and Sundays).

Alcoholics Anonymous National Helpline: 0131 225 2727

Support for Families affected by alcohol: Al Anon: 0800 008 6811

Scottish Families affected by Alcohol and Drugs
08080 10 10 11
Helpline on
or email us at

For support contact Daryl at 07554686672 or

New Drink Driving Law

What is the drink driving limit in Scotland?

New Drink Driving From December 5th 2014 the alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland was reduced from 80 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood (4).

The breath alcohol equivalent will be reduced from 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath to 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath (5).

The Scottish Government say they have changed their drink drive limit to bring Scotland in line with most other European countries, to save lives and make Scotland’s roads safer.

For more information about the drink driving limit in Scotland visit the Don’t Risk It campaign site.

How much can I drink and stay under the limit?
There is no fool-proof way of drinking and staying under the limit. The amount of alcohol you would need to drink to be considered over the driving limit varies from person to person. It depends on:

  • your weight
  • your gender (men tend to process alcohol faster than women)
  • your metabolism
  • the type and amount you're drinking
  • your current stress levels
  • whether you've eaten recently
  • age (younger people tend to process alcohol more slowly)
  • Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive so the only safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are driving.

Many of the functions that we depend on to drive safely are affected when we drink alcohol:

  • the brain takes longer to receive messages from the eye
  • processing information becomes more difficult
  • instructions to the body's muscles are delayed resulting in slower reaction times.
  • You can also experience blurred and double vision, which affects your ability to see things clearly while you are driving. And you’re more likely to take potentially dangerous risks because you can act on urges you normally repress (7).

How would I be tested for drink driving?

If the police want to investigate whether you are over the drink driving limit, they will carry out a screening breath test at the roadside. To do this, they will use a breathalyser.

If you fail this test, or if they have other grounds to believe that your driving was impaired through drink, you will be arrested and taken to a police station.

At the station you will need to provide two more breath specimens into a complex breathalyser, called an evidential breath testing instrument. The lower of the two readings is used to decide whether you are above the drink driving limit.

If the evidential breath sample is up to 40% over the limit you have the right to replace your evidential breath specimen with blood or urine - the police officer will decide which test you will have. If your evidential samples show that you are over the limit, you will be charged.

The police can carry out a breathalyser test if you have committed a moving traffic offence (such as banned turns) been involved in an accident, or have given the police grounds to believe you are over the limit.

The police are allowed to stop any vehicle at their discretion, and will often set up drink driving check points over periods such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

What’s the punishment if I get caught drink driving?

Anyone caught over the legal alcohol limit when driving will be banned from driving for at least 12 months, and fined up to £5,000. You can also be given between three to 11 penalty driving points. And you could be sent to prison for up to six months. Imprisonment, the period of disqualification, size of fine and penalty points depend on the seriousness of the offence (8).

If you’re caught drink driving more than once in a 10 year period, you’ll be banned for at least three years.

How to ensure you don't drink and drive

  • Arrange within your group of friends who's going to be the designated driver. A designated driver is the person who abstains from alcohol on a night out so they can drive the rest of their group of friends home safely.
  • If you live somewhere with good public transport links – take advantage of them. If you’re planning on staying out beyond the last train, tube or bus, make sure you’ve got a couple of taxi numbers.
  • If you have no option but to drive, stick to zero alcohol beers, mocktails or standard soft drinks.
  • Not every night out has to involve a bar or pub - book a table at a restaurant or try one of our alcohol-free nights on the town ideas.


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