Several recent incidents in the halls have provided harsh reminders of the serious and immediate risk to health and life that "recreational" drugs - including new psychoactive substances and herbal or "legal highs" - and/or excessive use of alcohol can pose to otherwise fit and well students. And of course there is also a good body of evidence showing the longer-term physical and mental health risks of regular use. So we are writing to remind you about the help that is available to safeguard you from alcohol- and drug-related harm.
Whilst the possession or use of illegal drugs is a disciplinary offence, our primary concern will always be for your safety and wellbeing. If you genuinely seek our help because you are worried about your use of alcohol or drugs, we will approach your concerns confidentially and non-judgmentally. We will seek to provide you with the support you need. If you are willing to accept professional help, in most cases we will not pursue disciplinary action.
Similarly, if you are concerned about a friend's use of alcohol or drugs in the hall, you can tell us in confidence, without fear that you will get your friend in trouble. Telling us your concerns about a friend's use of alcohol or drugs could be the thing that saves their life. Please don't stand by and do nothing.
Most importantly, if you or a friend become unwell after taking drugs, please get medical help (call 999 for an ambulance) and inform the front-desk security immediately. In a medical emergency our concern is always to ensure that the paramedics and doctors treating you know exactly what has happened and why, so please tell us the whole story. Your health and wellbeing always come first.
So if you are concerned about any matter relating to alcohol or drug use in hall - your own or someone else's - make an appointment to speak in confidence with your Warden.
English law places some requirements on us that mean we must use the disciplinary procedure in certain circumstances. These are:
1. If there is any evidence that a resident is supplying drugs to others.
2. If smoking drugs such as cannabis inside the Hall is causing a breach of the Health Act 2010.
3. If the use of drugs in the Hall causes risk to the safety of other residents, staff, or the public.
We will also use the disciplinary procedure if we find evidence of illegal drug use in your room but neither you nor a friend has come forward seeking help. It is too late to ask for our help after we have found evidence of drug use.
Links to sites providing information on alcohol and drug use disorder are provided below, with contact details for counselling and support services. Whilst we do wish to provide direct support these hopefully provide alternative avenues if you feel unable to contact anyone in hall. Whether hall staff or alternative support provision, please do seek professional help and do gain understanding of the risks you face.
EXTERNAL SOURCES OF HELP & ADVICE
Help with alcohol use concerns
DRINKAWARE: Sensible drinking tips & help with alcohol problems - www.drinkaware.co.uk
DRINK SMARTER: Sensible drinking tips & help with alcohol problems - www.drinksmarter.org/drinkline - 0800 7 314 314
CAMDEN ALCOHOL SERVICE: Individual and group counselling sessions and advice on alcohol related problems - http://bit.ly/XHnhCv - 020 3227 4950
FOUNDATION 66: Individual sessions with people under 23 who have concerns about alcohol use - http://bit.ly/UspAf3
Help with drug use concerns
VITAL INFORMATION PACK: Lots of information about drugs, including what first aid you should give if a friend gets unwell after using drugs - http://bit.ly/1cd2oYb
DRUGS RECOGNITION & EMERGENCY FIRST AID: This leaflet will help you if you're worried about a friend who might be using drugs, and show you how to help them in an emergency - http://bit.ly/OpCfAq
TALK TO FRANK: The National Drugs Helpline - www.talktofrank.com - 0300 123 6600 - Text 82111
DRUGSLINE: Support, counselling and information about drugs - www.drugsline.org - 0808 1 606 606
LONDON FRIEND ANTIDOTE: The UK’s only LGB&T run and targeted drug and alcohol support service - http://bit.ly/WZwFlN - 020 7833 1674
CAMDEN DRUGS & ALCOHOL ACTION TEAM: Individual and group sessions to help with alcohol and drugs issues - http://bit.ly/1bYrTlx - 020 7974 2915