Drugs and alcohol awareness

Drinking and using drugs affect your physical, mental and social wellbeing. Before you start taking anything, decide how sober and in control you want to be. Think about where you are, the people you're with and how safe you will be if you can’t take care of yourself.

How alcohol and drugs affect you

How alcohol and drugs affect you depends on your body size, your sex, your biology, your general health, and how much food and sleep you had. It’s important to know what is happening to your body so you don’t end up consuming more than you intend to or putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

Even in small quantities, alcohol and drugs affect all of your senses: your emotions, your movements, your vision and your hearing. You may feel more relaxed or less anxious, but also confused, unable to concentrate and less responsive. That’s because nervous messages have a harder time getting to your brain.

Your organs’ function and regulation systems are also impacted. Loss of appetite/cravings, dehydration, nausea, loss of consciousness or ability to regulate your body temperature are common short-term effects.

Sleep well, eat a healthy meal before or while consuming alcohol and drink water regularly. Whatever you take, go slow and wait to see how a substance makes you feel before taking more.


If you chose to use drugs and alcohol, make sure you know what you're doing and stay safe

Sex and substance use

Alcohol and drugs lower your inhibitions and alter your judgement. You may end up doing things you wouldn’t usually do.

If someone is drunk or high, they can’t consent to sex, even if you are both intoxicated. Intoxication doesn’t excuse inappropriate behaviours and you still bear the full responsibility of your actions.

Alcohol and drugs are a contextual factor in many forms of violence; however, they do not cause sexual harm to occur, they impact our ability to communicate and give consent.

Sex without consent is rape.

Find out more about sex and healthy relationships

Smoking and vaping

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable diseases. Vaping is less harmful than smoking but it isn’t harmless.

Find out more

Party safe

Planning your night out allows you to have fun and ensures that things end up well. Before going out, make sure that you have a plan to go home. If you go out with a group of friends, you may designate a sober driver or plan to walk home together.

Sweet drinks easily mask the taste of alcohol which is the most common substance used to spike drinks. Many drugs are not what they are sold as. Make sure you know exactly what you are taking and let people around you know so they can inform emergency services if things go wrong.

If you're driving and under 20, your alcohol limit is zero

Plan your night out thumbnail

Be a good mate

It is never ok to pressure someone into drinking or doing drugs. Back up your mates if they choose to be sober and stop the ones who don’t from acting inappropriately or hurting themselves.

Get help

Alcohol poisoning kills. Don’t let a very intoxicated person fall asleep, if they are unable to be woken up, get help immediately.

Learn to recognise the signs

  • The effects of drugs are unpredictable and addiction can happen immediately
  • If someone is unresponsive, stay with them until help arrives and be honest about what you believe they have taken

In case of an emergency call 111

If you struggle with substance use, make an appointment with a counsellor or mental health advisor. This service is free for all students based in New Zealand.

The Level

The Level

A straight up guide for people who use drugs developed by the NZ Drug Foundation
Know your Stuff

Know your Stuff

Drug checking and harm reduction services
Amohia te Waiora

Amohia te Waiora

We’re stronger without alcohol
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AUT Student Services Online EducationAUT has developed online learning modules around common topics to assist you being part of the AUT community. Your organisation password is AUT2023, sign up using your student email.Sign upAUT has developed online learning modules around common topics to assist you being part of the AUT community. Your organisation password is AUT2023, sign up using your student email.Sign up

Free 24/7 helplines

Alcohol Drug Helpline

Māori Helpline 0800 787 798

Pasifika Helpline 0800 787 799

Talk to a counsellor

If you struggle with substance use, AUT offers free counselling services and mental health support to all students based in New Zealand.

Phone +64 9 921 9292
Email counselling@aut.ac.nz

Make a booking