SSPP7 Misues of Drugs, Alcohol & Other Substances

SSPP7 Misues of Drugs, Alcohol & Other Substances

YorkSt JohnUniversity


  1. Policy Statement

The Policy on Student Use and Abuse of Controlled Drugs and Other Substances supports the University’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of students and recognises the risks that may be caused by the misuse of alcohol, drugs and other substances. It is recognised that alcohol, drugs and other substances cause different problems however, since there is overlap on the issues as they affect the University, the policy deals with them as a whole.

  1. Scope of Policy

The policy applies to all University students attending YorkSt JohnUniversityfor study or undertaking York St John University Courses and Programmes. The policy covers alcohol dependency, the inappropriate, illegal or excessive use of drugs or other substances (whether medically or non-medically prescribed) and the effects of such use, possession and/or dependency.

  1. Policy Aims

The University recognises that the misuse of alcohol and/or drugs and/or other substances are medical and social problems and can present the University with risks to health and safety. This policy aims to facilitate the early identification of such problems and to encourage students to seek advice, help and assistance voluntarily before their studies or their interaction with the University is adversely affected. The only staff, within the University, who can provide direct advice on substance abuse are those employed in the Campus Medical Practice. They may provide initial advice. This staff group, as well as student service staff, may also provide guidance as to where professional assistance is available locally using existing agencies. The policy is designed for use in conjunction with existing University Policies and future Health Awareness Campaigns.

  1. Sources of Help

4.1The University is aware of the possible consequences to the health of its students of the abuse of controlled drugs and other substances, including prescribed drugs, alcohol and tobacco. It therefore will provide for students an ongoing programme of health promotion and education, and appropriate training for members of staff with responsibilities relating to student welfare and care of students in residential provision.

4.2.University staff will be as supportive as possible, within legal and University policy limits, where students seek advice and guidance about matters relating to these issues. In these circumstances the University policy on confidentiality [1] will be maintained.

4.3Confidential advice and support, or information on other services, for those wishing to discuss problems related to the use of drugs or alcohol is available from specialist organisations

York Drug Resource Team tel :- 647474

York Alcohol Advice Service tel: - 652104

Or for initial advice from: -the University Campus Medical Practice, the Counselling Service, and the Student Welfare Adviser

4.4However where staff become aware of potential health and safety risks or other related matters (discipline) they are under an obligation to raise these issues with University managers.


5.1The use of certain drugs is illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Members of staff becoming aware of such usage should report this matter to their line manager or directly to the Head of student Enterprise and Development. Line managers are advised, if in doubt about possible action, also to contact the Student Advice Team. Actions which follow such reporting may range from support through to full implementation of the Code of Discipline for Students including contact with the police in cases of persistent usage of, or dealing in, illegal substances (see below).

5.2All University staff are obliged to report students who are in breach of University regulations or the law. This also applies to University staff who may observe such breaches in the course of cleaning or repairing student accommodation. This obligation is identified in student’s residency agreements. Students should also note that their ability to obtain employment in certain professions may be jeopardised if they have a drugs related criminal record.

5.3It is an offence for ‘the occupier or someone concerned in the management of any premises knowingly to permit or suffer on those premises the smoking of cannabis, or the production, attempted production, supply, attempted supply, or offering to supply of any controlled drug’ (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971). It is not the duty of staff to collect evidence, but any suspicion of students dealing in controlled drugs on University premises should be reported, in the first instance, to line managers who will take whatever action they consider appropriate. Staff may also report directly to the police. (section 10.2.3 Disciplinary Procedures and Code of Discipline for Students – Policy on referral to the Police). The University reserves the right to invite the police to make spot checks on University premises where there is suspicion of persistent drug usage or dealing.

5.3Situations which involve threat or harm to others, or damage to property, will be dealt with according to the procedures of the Code of Discipline for Students. In circumstances where a student’s behaviour is disruptive or causing risk to others she/he may be required to obtain a medical assessment as a condition of continuing on the course and may also be subject to the procedures of the Code of Discipline for Students.

QA Reference:SSPP7

Maintained by:Directorate for Learning Development

Last Updated:May 2010

[1] See Student Confidentiality Policy