Universities are being told to take a “positive rather than punitive approach” to drugs amid growing concern that expelling and reporting students who use substances can ruin lives.
At the University of Bristol, students can already get cocaine, cannabis and MDMA tested, while in Birmingham there is separate accommodation for addicts who want to live with abstinent housemates. At Surrey, £100 fines given to those found with drugs are suspended if the person agrees to attend an education session with a nurse.
A plan to address growing drug use on campus will be discussed at a conference on Tuesday, by members of a taskforce created by Universities UK, the organisation that represents vice-chancellors, with a report published in March.
Professor Dame Carol Black, the former head of a Cambridge college and a special adviser to the taskforce, said students across the country were too scared to tell tutors if they had a problem with drugs for fear they would be expelled or reported to police.
At Cambridge the problem was “very hidden”, said Black, who is also the government’s independent adviser on drugs.TIOB News