Drugs & Alcohol

Our policies relating to alcohol intake and harm reduction of drug taking are included below.

Drugs Policy

Leeds University Union has adopted a harm reduction approach to drug use. While it is always stated that the safest way to avoid the risks of alcohol and drugs is to not consume them, it is acknowledged that drug usage occurs among student populations. 

LUU is an independent organisation to the University so has different policies and procedures. The University of Leeds has a zero tolerance approach to illegal drug taking, meaning that if a student is found to be in possession of illegal substances or involved with illegal drug activities on campus, they may face disciplinary action, potentially including eviction from University halls of residence, suspension or expulsion from the University, or their activities being reported to the police. The University currently provides their alcohol and drug use information through a booklet and webpage.


LUU Drug Use Policy

1. LUU has a legal responsibility to prevent substance use and misuse within its premises. LUU will:

  • Promote student health and wellbeing by discouraging substance misuse;
  • Educate students of the potentially harmful effects of drug use;
  • Provide appropriate support or refer students to relevant professional organisations;
  • Invoke appropriate disciplinary procedures as detailed in LUU Bye-Law 16 in relation to substance misuse in our venues, if deemed necessary

2. LUU is committed to reducing the harm that its students may face and will:

  • Promote the health & wellbeing of students by actively sharing drug harm reduction material;
  • Provide access to drug harm reduction material through the Help and Support team;
  • Run alcohol and drug harm reduction events at key times of the year, with special attention being given to Freshers Week;
  • Deliver drugs training to Clubs and Societies; 
  • Work in partnership with the University and West Yorkshire Police to ensure student wellbeing is first and foremost in the University’s disciplinary procedures; 
  • Engage with the wider drug harm reduction sector to look for ways LUU can support students.

3. Disciplinary action will be taken if necessary to safeguard students and staff. LUU’s first response will always be one of support/signposting. More details can be found in the LUU Disciplinary Process (LUU Bye-Law 16). 

4. Any student who uses drugs and wants support is encouraged to speak to LUU about this. Disciplinary processes will not be conducted as a result of you seeking support or advice from LUU unless the legal responsibility to prevent substance use and misuse within LUU premises is being compromised.

  • Forward Leeds run a weekly drop-in at LUU, offering free and confidential advice about drugs. For details please see their webpage.  
  • If you are concerned about your/someone else’s’ substance use, you can seek free and confidential support from LUU Advice on the ground floor of LUU (or via advice@leeds.luu.ac.uk).


Drinks Service Policy

  • We will not sell spirits in quantities greater than a standard double serve measure in one glass other than in a recognised cocktail.
  • We will not mix different spirits in the same glass other than as part of a recognised cocktail.
  • We will not put spirits into draught alcohol products e.g. put a whiskey in a pint of lager.
  • We will not normally stock any product over 50% ABV.  Where we do, it will be only with the approval of the Alcohol Policy Board.
  • Table service is defined as the offering of further drinks service (away from the bar area) to customers, where drinks are prepared to order and subsequently delivered to the customer by a server. Staff involved in table service on any shift will be specifically reminded of their obligation not to serve those who appear to be excessively under the influence of alcohol. Service away from the bar will stop before 1am.
  • Mobile service is defined as the offering of a specific promoted drink brand (away from the bar area) dispensed immediately by the server. We recognise that the mobile service of shooter drinks could be considered part of a binge drinking mentality. However, when used responsibly these add a fun element to events appreciated by the majority of customers. The following measures apply to this specific type of service:


  • Staff briefed to refuse those who have already consumed a high quantity of alcohol
  • Activity not to be undertaken after 1am
  • All spirits above 38 % ABV will only be served diluted 50/50% with an appropriate non alcoholic mixer
  • Service limited to a single measure
  • There will be no competition elements that involve volume or speed drinking incentives
  • Alcohol will never be dispensed directly into a customer’s mouth


If this activity is being undertaken by a third party they will be required to sign a disclaimer committing to abide by the above.

We will refuse service of alcoholic products to those who appear to have already had too much to drink, and either ask them to safely leave the premises or encourage them to have a soft drink or water as appropriate.

We will review this policy on a bi-annual basis.

Alcohol Promotions Policy

All central promotional activity agreed with suppliers will comply with the Portman Group Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks (4th edition), and therefore should not in any direct or indirect way:

  1. Have the alcoholic strength, relatively high alcohol content, or the intoxicating effect, as a dominant theme;
  2. Suggest any association with bravado, or with violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social behaviour;
  3. Suggest any association with, acceptance of, or allusion to, illicit drugs;
  4. Suggest that consumption of the drink can lead to social success or popularity;
  5. Encourage illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as drink-driving, binge-drinking, or drunkenness;
  6. Urge the consumer to drink rapidly or to “down” a product in one;
  7. Have a particular appeal to under 18s;
  8. Incorporate images of people who are, or look as if they are, Under 25 years of age, where there is any suggestion that they are drinking alcohol
  9. Photos used on posters and or social media will not show people drinking or holding alcohol
  10. Suggest that the product can enhance mental or physical capabilities.
  11. Themes for clubs and events will get sign off from the Commercial Operations Manager to ensure policy compliance

In line with the BBPA (British Bar and Pub Association) Social Responsibility Standards; promotions or promotional materials will not:

  1. Condone, encourage or glamorise excessive drinking or drunkenness or encourage anti-social behaviour.  Effects of intoxication should not be referred to in any favourable manner.
  2. Be linked to sexual imagery implying sexual success or prowess;
  3. Refer to consuming alcohol to recover from previous over-indulgence;
  4. Be disrespectful of contemporary, prevailing standards of taste and decency, and avoid degrading or gratuitously offensive images, symbols, figures and innuendoes.  Promotional material should not be demeaning to any gender, race, religion, age or minority group.
  5. Appeal, through images / symbols, primarily to those under the legal purchase age.  Characters should only be used if it is clearly established that their primary appeal is to adults.  Use of any cartoon character popular with children is unacceptable.
  6. Contain any direct or indirect references to drug culture or illegal drugs.
  7. Have any association with violence or anti-social behaviour.

Additionally, we will avoid;

  1. Any promotional activity which implies drinks being ‘downed in one’ or which incentivises speed drinking
  2. Any promotion that relies on an unpredictable event e.g. ‘first goal scored’, and therefore encourages urgent and / or unplanned alcohol consumption
  3. Promotions that involve drinking games
  4. All inclusive promotions – including large quantities of, or all drinks, in the admission fee
  5. Any promotion that involves an initial payment to obtain reduced price alcohol for a sustained period – e.g. “Quid’s In”
  6. Links with any tobacco (including e cigarettes) related products in (drinks) promotions e.g. match boxes, cigarette lighters, ashtrays etc. (Note: we will provide for use but not as part of a drinks promotion)
  7. Activity which presents alcohol abstinence, or choosing soft drink alternatives in a negative light
  8. Sampling activity involving staff under the age of 18
  9. Sampling activity which offers more than 1.5 units of alcohol per person

Examples of good promotions include:

  1. The inclusion of responsible drinking messages and alcohol units where appropriate
  2. Promotions that are run over periods of time to ensure prizes such as drinks vouchers can be redeemed later, not just on the day they are won
  3. All promotional activity will incorporate a soft drinks offer
  4. Any time-limited promotion should be for 2 hours or longer

Soft Drinks

  • Soft drinks will always be  the cheapest option at our bars 
  • Soft drinks will be included in any list of pricing as part of the main list
  • A pint of cordial is always £1, a half pint 50p. 
  • Fruit will be available for water
  • Water will always be available for customers free of charge

Minimum Tariff Policy

In licensed trade outlets we believe that it is particularly important to lead the way with regards to pricing policy. We have therefore reviewed this to be £1 per unit whether standard price or promotional price in our bars.


We believe the key to a good and popular operation lies in the quality of service, entertainment and environment.  We are happy that, as a result of our focus on quality, we can sustain the £1 minimum.


We recognise that in bars and clubs price perception is different to that in retail, and heavy discounting can lead to excessive consumption regardless of a standard minimum price.  Therefore in bars and clubs, in addition to the above, we will maintain our £1.50 per drink minimum price for an alcoholic drink, where a ‘drink’ is the normal measure of service e.g. pint of lager, ale or cider, single measure of spirit, 125ml Wine or a bottled lager / alcopop.

Safe Drinking

The majority of our customers are students. It is our view that they are adults, and we are not here to dictate or control their actions or choices.  We also recognise that there are plenty of alternatives to the Students' Union as a venue.  Our general policy is one of awareness and education.  We do not wish to ‘preach’ or take a ‘moral high ground’.  We do aim to use our knowledge of how to market effectively to students, to get key messages across regarding their safety and well-being, by providing relevant and timely information and reminders.

Drink Spiking

  1. We have ‘Spikeys’ available on request, free of charge in Union venues
  2. Customers observed by Security inside, outside or leaving our premises are informally assessed.  If their demeanour causes sufficient concern; that person will be treated initially as a casualty, be assessed further, and given appropriate assistance.  This could include first aid, assistance getting home, or locating a friend to accompany them.  Aggravating features to cause concern are people leaving alone, or when challenged, the casualty cannot positively identify a companion.  Where we suspect someone’s drink may have been spiked we will also treat it as a criminal act, investigate further to gain evidence, and involve the emergency services.

Age Verification

At LUU, we operate a Check 21 age verification policy.

This policy applies in relation to the sale or supply of alcohol on LUU premises.

For this policy the responsible person is the designated premises supervisor for each bar/venue.


Staff serving alcohol or working on the front door of the premises must require any individuals who appear to the responsible person to be under the age of 21 years of age to produce on request, before being served alcohol or granted entry to the building, identification bearing their photograph, date of birth, and a holographic mark.


Examples of appropriate identification include:

  • A valid photocard driving licence
  • A valid passport
  • A proof of age card bearing the PASS hologram


However other ID that meets the above criteria can also be accepted if the member of staff believes it to be genuine.


Anybody who cannot produce acceptable ID will be refused entry/ service and if the failure takes place during an event finishing after midnight they will be escorted from the premises.


The premises licence holder will ensure that staff are made aware of the existence and content of this policy.

Smokefree campus

As part of the University’s commitment to creating a smoke free campus, between 8am and 6pm you are asked not to smoke on campus, including LUU.

Want to know more? Visit the University’s ‘For Students’ section here.

If you need help to quit smoking, you can get free support on campus; for more information see the Quit Smoking webpages. You can also get in touch with the University if you’ve got any feedback at smokefree@leeds.ac.uk.