Alcohol & drug support

Alcohol & drug support

Mixing alcohol or drugs with sex is not a good idea. Alcohol or drugs can lower your natural inhibitions and reduce your ability to think rationally, leading to poor choices about participating in sex or using contraception.

Sexual side effects

Sexual side effects

Drinking alcohol to excess can  also make having good sex difficult because alcohol reduces both men’s and women’s sexual sensitivity and in both sexes, sexual response is reduced by regular and prolonged drinking.

For men, alcohol can cause difficulties getting and maintaining an erection – while women may experience reduced lubrication, find it harder to have an orgasm, or have orgasms that are less intense.

As well as reducing your sex drive, drinking too much over an extended period of time can result in impotence (inability in a man to achieve an erection or orgasm) and reduced fertility if you’re planning to have children. Women who drink over the national guidelines of 14 units a week can take longer to become pregnant and can suffer from menstrual and fertility problems. The low risk guideline is the same for men and women.

Where to get help

Where to get help

The NHS offers alcohol advice and support, including tips on how to reduce your alcohol intake and getting help with a drug problem.

Talking to someone can help with an addiction issue. If you would like to speak to a counsellor, The Counselling Directory lists professionals who provide talking therapy services in Devon.

Other support can be found from:

In the Torbay area you can get support from the Torbay Drug and Alcohol Service. Including;

  • Drug and alcohol assessments for adults (18+) – this includes the full range of prescribed, legal, illegal and over the counter medication.
  • A named recovery Coordinator.
  • A named peer support volunteer.
  • Structured psychosocial interventions on a 1:1 and group work basis.
  • Group-work to support you at every stage.
  • Healthcare assessments.
  • Volunteering opportunities.
  • Blood Borne Virus Testing (Hep B/C and HIV) and Hep B immunisation.
  • Access to a Specialist Health Visitor to support families.
  • Assessment and referral to community based residential rehabilitation programmes.
  • Assessment for prescribing interventions including stabilisation, detoxification and reduction programmes.
  • Signposting and advice.
  • We can supply Naloxone, an antidote used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, and provide training on how to use it.
  • If you support someone with a substance misuse issue there is support for your needs. A Carer Support Worker is based at Shrublands and runs regular peer support groups.
Devon & Cornwall SARC

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Accessing the Service during the COVID crisis

How to access the service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with early symptoms of coronavirus is available online at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Advice from our service:

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception during this pandemic here.

Information is now also available to advise on sexual contact during a time of social distancing here.

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Alternative provision:

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - at your local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills - obtained from your GP
  • HIV postal testing - available to at-risk groups for a small fee -  more info
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info