Waipiro, tarukino me te tākaro ataata | Alcohol, drugs & gaming

Drinking alcohol, smoking, vaping and the use of other drugs can have risks associated with your health, mood and mental health. How you engage with these substances is your own decision, but here is some important health and wellbeing information we want you to know about:

People may consume alcohol for a number of different reasons. As University students, some of these reasons may include curiosity, to fit in, to have fun, to relax or to relieve social anxiety. Some people can consume alcohol at safe levels and have an enjoyable experience, but for many people drinking alcohol has negative consequences ranging from a hangover, all the way through to impaired decision making that may be dangerous and/or illegal.

Excessive alcohol use can have a significant impact on our ability to think, make rational decisions, regulate emotions and control impulses. It can also impact balance and memory. Excessive drinking can lead to:

  • Risky or dangerous behaviours
  • Violence
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Non-consensual or unsafe sex
  • Relationship breakdowns

Excessive drinking can have significant effects on health, some examples include:

  • Short term effects: Blurred vision, slurred and confused speech, clumsiness and difficulty walking, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of memories and much more. Read more about the short term effects.
  • Long term effects: Increased risk of developing cancer, liver and brain damage, lung inflammation, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and much more. Read more about the long term effects.

Making safe decisions

  • Know what a standard drink is – see here for more info
  • Keep hydrated – consume water and non-acoholic drinks
  • Drink slowly and pace yourself
  • Try drinks with lower alcohol content
  • Eat before or while you are drinking
  • Never drink and drive – organise a sober driving if you are going out
  • Look out for your mates and encourage them to do the same

Plan transport and accommodation in advance and make sure you let someone know where you are always. Make sure your friends get home safely.

Hosting a party?

If you are hosting a party register it on Good OneGood One is all about helping you have a great party without things getting hairy. Check out their Good One website for more information and tips on being a great host.

Tips and advice on hosting a party


If you or someone you know needs support around alcohol consumption, consider talking to an advisor at Atawhai Ākonga | Student Care or your GP.


The University of Canterbury is proud to be a smoke free campus (this applies to e-cigarettes and personal vaporisers as well as tobacco). However, we do understand that it can be difficult to stop smoking. If you are looking to quit and need some support, you can contact Quitline for free advice on 0800 778 778, or alternatively you can contact Atawhai Ākonga | Student Care to speak to one of the advisors who can provide you with some guidance.


The University of Canterbury does not condone the use of any illegal drugs, but understands that we live in a world where drugs exist. There are a number of risks associated with drug use. Symptoms and risk of drug use will vary depending on the following factors:

  • Quantity and quality of the substance taken
  • Individuals prior history with the substance
  • If the individual has recently consumed other drugs

Making safe decisions

The safest decision is to avoid drug use due to the many risks associated with it.

All UC campuses are drug- and smoke-free. UC encourages students to look out for themselves and for each other. Students are encouraged to take personal responsibility, especially in relation to the use of alcohol. Students should be aware that the CCC has placed a permanent alcohol ban on the Riccarton-Ilam area around campus.


If you or someone you know needs support around drug use, consider talking to an advisor at Atawhai Ākonga | Student Care or your GP.


Playing computer games is a popular pastime and provides healthy brain stimulation, development of problem-solving skills and stress relief to many people. However, like many other things in life, when taken to extremes it can be problematic and negatively impact other areas of your life. It is important to balance time spent playing computer games with time away from the screen with friends, doing outdoor activities, exercising, and meeting study and work commitments.

Gaming becomes a health and wellbeing issue when:

  • Physical symptoms appear, such as fatigue, migraines, eye strain or poor personal hygiene
  • Emotional symptoms occur such as:
    • Feelings of restlessness and/or irritability when unable to play
    • Lying to family or friends about the amount of time spent playing
    • Isolation from others in order to spend more time gaming


If you or someone you know needs support around gaming, consider talking to an advisor at Atawhai Ākonga | Student Care or your GP.