Bristol Uni is giving out free drug testing kits
The kits are available from the SU
Bristol Uni is providing free drug testing kits in a new campaign to help reduce the harm that may come to students as a result of drug use.
Launched in collaboration with the Bristol SU and Bristol Drugs Project, the project will run all year with the aim of educating students around drug use, and materials such as drug testing kits are now available to students.
Bristol Uni students are well known for their use of illegal drugs, with 84 per cent having said they had taken drugs in a 2o17 Tab survey, and Bristol itself holding the title of being the “Cocaine Capital of Europe“.
“All About Drugs” is a three day campaign being run by the SU that will be ending on Friday, however the activities will continue “throughout the year”. It is thought to be the first campaign of its type at a UK university.
The campaign will launch regular drop-in sessions at the SU where support and advice will be made available, and where students can pick up a free drug reagent kit.
The kits being provided free of charge to students will confirm precisely what composes the substance that they test, and could identify unexpected components to the substance that could be harmful.
Bristol Drugs Project will be hosting stalls at the transport hub of the Stoke Bishop halls of residence, and also outside the Hawthorns to provide harm reduction materials and information about drop-in sessions on campus.
Drug testing kits are not new, and have been used at music festivals, and people in the Netherlands have been able to get their drugs tested for free since the 1980s.
Ruth Day, Bristol SU Student Living Officer, described the project as “long overdue”, adding: “I think it is important to recognize that some students will choose to use alcohol and other drugs, so we need to be doing all we can to reduce the harms that come with this.”
Maggie Telfer, Bristol Drugs Project’s CEO said: “Giving students this clear message that it’s Ok to talk about drugs will help spread information to reduce drug-related risks and give students who have worries about their own use a clear message that seeking support won’t be accompanied by sanctions.”
Director of Student Health and Inclusion warned that enforcement of the law will continue, saying: “While we will continue to address anti-social and criminal behaviour, such as supplying illegal drugs, we know that a zero-tolerance stance is harmful and damaging as it prevents students reaching out as they may fear being punished.“
Earlier this year, The Bristol Tab exclusively revealed that Badock students had received the most drug-related fines in halls, with a third year history student once describing it as being full of “ket-taking streetonians from the home counties who have second homes in the south of France”.
For more information about this combined approach to harm reduction, or information on where to get support, students can visit bristol.ac.uk/students/support/wellbeing/services/ or www.bdp.org.uk/support.
Story featured image: SWNS
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