WHAT IS IT?
Essentially, a harm reduction approach to drug use at university would reduce barriers to support seeking. The approach would not mean that drug use is enabled or supported, however should it be noted that a student is using or abusing drugs, they will be offered information, advice, guidance and/or support rather than immediate punitive action being taken. This approach would involve the university having a focus on education and awareness around drugs and drug use, to ensure that students have a high level of understanding of such and this will reduce the likelihood of harm associated with drug use occurring. It is important that the primary focus of an institution adopting a harm reduction approach is the wellbeing of their students.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
A harm reduction approach to drug use helps to prevent harm associated with drug use, most often through education and awareness. This approach ensures that those using or abusing drugs are willing and able to seek appropriate support, again, preventing harm occurring, in addition to knowing how and where to seek that support.
TIPS FOR MOVING TOWARDS A HARMREDUCTION APPROACH
· Develop a strong partnership between uni and SU to share consistency
· Get support from senior members of staff from the university and students’ union
· Look to other universities to see what they have done in terms of harm reduction
CHALLENGES THAT MAY BE FACED
· Perception or belief that the university and students’ union is condoning drug use
· Ensuring that all staff (from university and students’ union) are on the same page / encompassing the harm reduction approach
· Gaining senior management support and contributions