Policy on students' use and abuse of controlled drugs and other substances

Policy statement

The Policy on Student Use and Abuse of Controlled Drugs and Other Substances supports the University's commitment to ensuring the health and safety of students and recognises the risks that may be caused by the misuse of alcohol, drugs and other substances. It is recognised that alcohol, drugs and other substances cause different problems but as the issues overlap the policy deals with them as a whole.

Scope of policy

The policy applies to all University students attending SHU premises for study. The policy covers the habitual or frequent consumption of alcohol and alcohol dependency, the inappropriate, illegal or excessive use of drugs or other substances (whether medically or non-medically prescribed) and the effects of such use, possession and/or dependency.

Policy aims

The University recognises that the misuse of alcohol and/or drugs and/or other substances are medical and social problems. This policy aims to facilitate the early identification of such problems and to encourage students to seek advice, help and assistance voluntarily before their studies are adversely affected. University staff unless employed directly to do so, will not provide direct advice on substance abuse. They will provide guidance as to where professional assistance is available locally using existing agencies. The policy is designed for use in conjunction with existing University Student Charter and future Health Awareness Campaigns.

Sources of help

Confidential advice and support, or information on other services, for those wishing to discuss problems related to the use of drugs or alcohol is available from the medical service, the counselling service, the Chaplaincy and the Hallam Union Advice Centre. Examples of literature produced for the Study Safely campaign are at www.isdd.co.uk/student_guide/

Policy on students' use and abuse of controlled drugs and other substances

1. The University is committed to raising awareness of the possible consequences to health of the abuse of controlled drugs and other substances, including prescribed drugs, alcohol and tobacco. It therefore will provide a programme of health promotion and education, and appropriate training for members of staff with responsibilities relating to student welfare and care of premises, including residential provision.

2. Confidential advice and support, or information on other services, for those wishing to discuss problems related to the use of drugs or alcohol is available from the medical service, the counselling service, the Chaplaincy and the Hallam Union Advice Centre.

3. The use of certain drugs is illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and members of staff becoming aware of such usage should report to their line manager. A range of action may be taken, from a conversation with the student giving information about health risks and services available, through to contact with the police in cases of persistent usage of, or dealing in, illegal substances. Students after graduating may put at risk their ability to obtain employment in certain professions if they have a drugs related criminal record.

4. It is an offence for 'the occupier or someone concerned in the management of any premises knowingly to permit or suffer on those premises the smoking of cannabis; or the production, attempted production, supply, attempted supply, or offering to supply of any controlled drug' (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971). It is not the duty of staff to collect evidence, but any suspicion of dealing in controlled drugs on University premises should be reported to the University's Security service. The Head of Security will take whatever action she/he considers appropriate, which may include involving the police. The University reserves the right to invite the police to make spot checks on University premises where there is suspicion of persistent drug usage or dealing.

Situations, which involve threat or harm to others, or damage to property, will be dealt with according to the normal University disciplinary procedures for students. In circumstances where a student's behaviour is disruptive or causing risk to others she/he may be required to obtain a medical assessment as a condition of continuing on the course.

Feedback to: shuspace@shu.ac.uk