Aims: To assess perceptions on alcohol misuse and addiction among medical students prior to in-depth training in order to determine areas of the curriculum that need to be reshaped or focused on. Methods: A questionnaire assessment of first- and second-year medical students' perceptions of alcohol misuse. Results: Students had some misconceptions about current alcohol misuse rates, including a perception that addiction is common among health professionals, that the under-25s had the fastest increasing rate of alcohol addiction and that British women had a more rapidly increasing rate of alcohol addiction than British men. Conclusion: Encouragingly, students overwhelmingly felt that alcohol addiction was something to which they could make a difference. It highlights that early education about alcohol misuse is important in terms of teaching students how to recognize hazardous and harmful drinkers and how to manage them.