As with other Students’ Unions, the University of Nottingham Students’ Union is being asked by its members to take a more proactive role in the promotion of safer drug use, and the 435th Union Council, held on Thursday 8 November 2018, passed a policy on drug safety and harm reduction. The policy specifically addresses how to provide more comprehensive drugs advice, as well as engaging relevant stakeholders to deliver additional services and providing drug testing kits for personal use.
Following Union Council, this policy was discussed by the Students’ Union Trustee Board on Friday 14 December rather than staff immediately enacting the policy. Any policy that creates potential for legal or reputational risk must be considered by the Trustee Board. The Board is responsible for monitoring activities to ensure the charity operates within its legal obligations and has a specific duty to safeguard the Union, including considering and taking appropriate action related to any legal, financial and reputational risks.
Following careful consideration of legal advice on the activity requested by the policy, the Trustee Board supports the provision of safer drug use advice and working more closely with relevant stakeholders to deliver additional support for students. They also support the provision of drug testing kits for personal use.
However, The Trustee Board in no way condones drug use, yet is keen to take steps to reduce the risks of illegal drug taking, as requested by students.
There is no change to the law or the University of Nottingham’s policy on illegal drug use. There will continue to be a zero tolerance approach to drug use on campus, and possession of illegal drugs is a criminal offence.
Home testing kits will be available from the Portland Building during the summer term for a suggested donation of £2.50. Information on safer drug use will be provided with each kit, which will also be available on the Students’ Union website.
Cassie Ulrich, Chair of the University of Nottingham Students’ Union Trustee Board, said:
“We are determined to support our members on the issues that are most important to them. Drug safety and harm reduction is essential to address for our members and the implementation of this policy will help students have greater access to information to make an informed choice.”