We’re pleased to announce that after joining the programme in November 2020, the University of Leeds and Leeds University Union have obtained SOS-UK Drug and Alcohol Impact accreditation.
This is a huge achievement for the as it illustrates the partnership’s commitment to, and progress in, creating and embedding a social norm of responsible alcohol consumption by students and changing the conversation on drugs - away from zero tolerance and towards reducing harm.
Highlights of their work:
· The partnership has demonstrated that they recognise the links between mental health and substance use, this understanding was evident through the references made to drugs and alcohol throughout both the students’ unions and the university’s mental health resources.
· The partnership takes part in the Christie Championships, an annual tri-University sports event held between the universities of Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. This year the universities asked their participating groups to sign up to the Code of Conduct. The intention was to alter the culture of the event so that it is no longer focused on alcohol consumption. Two-thirds of Leeds University groups completed and returned the new Code of Conduct form and as a result, an event that previously resulted in significant operational challenges relating to intoxication ran without incident.
· Based on survey results finding that nearly half of their students who took drugs knew little about drug interactions, the partnership has work underway to develop an education-focused drug harm reduction campaign with the intention of increasing awareness of the interactions between various drugs and alcohol.
· The partnership has made an effort to ensure that the campus is inclusive for those who do not drink alcohol. They have organised various events with over 6500 students in attendance and 99% of the students surveyed at these events said they would return to a similar event. This demonstrates that not only were these events well attended, but they were of good quality.
· A key investment that the partnership has made is the employment of four Wellbeing Event Reps, who are responsible for looking after students at drinking events. It was reported that the Wellbeing Event Reps intervened in over 200 situations or cases, thus having a substantial impact on the wellbeing of students.
· The partnership has developed a relationship with Forward Leeds and as a result, specialist support is available to students.
SOS-UK trained University of Leeds student volunteers to audit their institution.
One student auditor said “The University and LUU both are making great efforts towards bringing a change to the drug and alcohol related issues in the institution. I commend all the work done and believe that this initiative will help many students across the University.”
“We are really pleased with the results of the accreditation which demonstrates the commitment to the partnership between the University and LUU. We would especially like to congratulate the student auditors on their diligence and attention to detail throughout the process. It was really great to receive direct feedback from these students on our various initiatives around drug and alcohol impact, and to get a strong steer on what to focus our efforts on next.” (University of Leeds and Leeds University Union)
Congratulations to all those involved in the Drug and Alcohol Impact programme, a great achievement!