Bristol SU sets up new drug harm reduction campaign


By Eve Bentley-Hussey, Students' Union Correspondent

Bristol University SU, in collaboration with Bristol Drugs Project, has launched a harm reduction campaign around drug use for the first time in its history.

The campaign, named ‘All About Drugs’, will begin with activities across a three day period from 28-30 October.

These will include webinars exploring topics such as testing, decriminalization and harm reduction of drugs; panels featuring representatives from groups such as Bristol Drugs Project; and a live Q&A.

‘All About Drugs’ will begin with activities across a three day period from 28-30 October | The University of Bristol’s Students’ Union

Not all of the campaign will be virtual, with Bristol Drugs Project hosting stalls by the North Village Transport hub and outside the Hawthorns.

The campaign will continue beyond the initial three day period of events, with regular drop-in sessions to be made available in the Richmond building, where students can receive advice, information and a free drug testing kit.

Bristol SU hope to make student support more accessible and reduce the risk of harm of drug use.

Students can access further help around drug use through ‘Be Well, Live Well’ Drug and Alcohol Modules when completing the induction for the University.

Ruth Day, the Student Union Living Officer, has said: ‘This project is long overdue. I think it’s 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.’

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Alison Golden-Wright, director of Student Health and Inclusion, added: ‘Not only is support important but having accurate and useful advice is essential, which is why this new partnership with Bristol Drugs Project is so important.’

She also claimed a zero-tolerance attitude to drugs is unhelpful as students are discouraged from reaching out for help due to the threat of punishment.

CEO of Bristol Drugs Project, Maggie Teller, said, ‘We’re really excited to be a partner in developing a more open conversation with Bristol’s students about drugs, including alcohol.

She mentioned that the stress of the coronavirus pandemic may have led to some students using drugs as a means to cope with pressure.

Featured Image: The University of Bristol’s Students’ Union

A statement on the University’s drug and harm reduction approach can be read here.