Student Unions across the country are increasingly giving drug-testing kits to students for them to assess the toxicity of what they are taking, reports Rebecca Hall
Evan Crossan Jory, the NUS Vice-President for Welfare, told The Independent: ‘More and more unions are asking about drug-testing kits. So, we are trying to make the kits cheaper and more accessible’.
Manchester, Newcastle, and Sussex Universities have led the trend by providing the kits, but smaller unions are seeking finance in order to do the same. Students attending the University of Manchester can purchase drug testing kits for just £2.50, which is below market value. Jory added, ‘Student Unions are taking it more seriously. And there are a lot more student unions that are looking at ways they can reduce harm and educate their students within the union’.
The University of Birmingham currently does not provide drug-testing kits. The Guild’s current policy is that they, ‘recognise that alcohol and drugs will play a part in the lives of some people and will be sympathetic to problems arising from misuse’ but ultimately, it does not condone such use.
The University of Leeds was recently reported to be the most popular institution for drug users. Eight out of ten undergraduates have admitted to trying illicit substances, according to the The Daily Mail.
An NUS survey recently revealed that 56% of students have tried drugs, with two in five saying they currently use drugs. While this has propelled many students’ unions to look into drug testing kits, Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University, has taken an extremely different approach by reinforcing an attempt to create a drug-free campus by asking students to sign a contract pledging to not partake in the use of illegal substances.
Redbrick spoke to Amy, a first-year student, about the new drug-testing kits, who said, ‘Surely it’s just encouraging us to do drugs?’. Max, a second-year student, also said, ‘I think prevention is best, now at least me and my mates are safe on a night out’.
In July, the Home Office said it, ‘wouldn’t stand in the way of drug-testing at clubs and festivals’, suggesting that despite some initial concerns, the use of drug-testing kits will become more frequent both at universities and in wider society.