There is a certain inevitability about recreational drug use when large numbers of students congregate, regardless of their proximity to a major city. For the most part the drug situation on campus appears under control, with hospitalisations and serious drug-related incidents relatively rare. The University is not in the habit of rigorously policing the habits of its students and it is difficult to argue that it should be.
Yet what is important is to have an idea of the levels of drug use among students and, somewhat more worryingly, among staff, in order to be prepared for eventualities and to know when to intervene before the situation gets out of control. The results of this paper’s investigation must prompt a major rethink of previous impressions about the levels of drug use on campus.
The University has promised to “urgently” follow up the findings of this investigation, yet when asked what form this follow-up would take a spokesperson could provide no specifics. Nor was there any request to see the evidence of the investigation. This is not an encouraging start. The University must take active steps to build a better picture of the drugs situation on campus and decide what further action should follow.
There is also a role for YUSU in this. Anti-drugs campaigns can often seem patronising to students assured of their maturity. But a calm and non-judgemental supply of information on drugs could go a long way.