Policy on drug and alcohol misuse

A. Policy Statement

The University of Derby, which includes its subsidiaries, including DSRL, Buxton and Leek College and commercial activities, operates a policy of ‘No Tolerance’ towards the use of illegal drugs on all premises.

This policy is effective for all Further and Higher Education students across university sites, and is inclusive of university employed student/staff members (e.g. Student ambassadors, Residential Assistants and support workers).

Any and all uses of illegal drugs on our premises will be referred to the Police and will be subject to our university disciplinary procedures.

The use, supply and/or production of drugs may jeopardise a student's right to remain a member of the University.

The University also undertakes to support the Union of Students (US) campaign on safe use and to promote those services that can assist with addiction and harm reduction.

B. Aim

The aim of this policy is to support students who are affected by the problems associated with drug and alcohol use, provide a framework for reducing harm, and reduce the negative effects of the misuse of drugs and alcohol on students and staff.

This contributes to the University’s commitment to provide a high quality, safe environment for study, leisure and residence.

C. Objectives

It is the policy of the University to:

  1. Provide information on drugs and their effects to students, outlining potential hazards, safer drug and alcohol use, and information on local and national agencies providing support to assist harm reduction
  2. Ensure the provision of a confidential support service within the University of Derby and its subsidiaries to enable students to access support to address any drug or alcohol related difficulties, or be referred to a specialist agency
  3. Provide assistance to students to understand their responsibilities in law, University rules on drugs and alcohol, the implications for students, and the University’s responses in dealing with these issues
  4. Provide, or make available, training for staff to improve their awareness of drugs, drug and alcohol related problems, and the University’s responses

*Objectives adapted from University Policy on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Heriot Watt University by permission (December 2014)

Objective 1: Information

1.1 The University will ensure that accessible and appropriate information is available to students in the following areas:

1.2 This information will be readily available to students through a variety of formats and in a wide variety of places, to ensure students can access the information as needed. Working collaboratively with internal and external partners, the University will work to ensure that this information is kept current and in line with national awareness initiatives.

Objective 2: Support

2.1 The University recognises that students with problems related to their alcohol or drug use may present in a variety of ways. For example they might:

2.2 In responding to these needs, the University primarily aims to support students to deal with these issues effectively, minimise the effects on their life, and sustain their engagement with their studies.

2.3 The formal University responses, when these issues have a significant and detrimental impact on others or infringe on the University’s legal responsibilities, are dealt with in the following section: Objective 3.

2.4 In responding to these needs, the University has a range of support services available to support students who experience issues associated with alcohol and drug use. These services can support those who use drugs and alcohol and those who are affected by drug/alcohol use.

2.5 Clinical support at university sites

2.5.1 Derby campus

The University has a partnership with a GP Surgery at the Kedleston Road campus. All students living in Derby can register with the practice and it is a source of support to assess and manage the issues with regard to drugs and alcohol use.

2.5.2 Buxton campus

Students sited at the Buxton campus can access the University Nurse to access support and be supported with any specialist referral points

2.5.3 Leek campus

Students sited at the Leek Campus can access the BLC Hub staffing team to access support and be supported with any specialist referral points.

2.5.4 Chesterfield campus

Students can currently access telephone and e-mail advice and web resources.


2.6 Confidential counselling is available to all students to access either in person or by telephone to discuss problems.

The counsellors will assess, with the student, the issues and assist them to decide what the appropriate level of support needed might be.

This may also involve referral to a specialist agency outside the University.

Student Wellbeing

2.7 The University of Derby Student Wellbeing is available to assist students in accessing information, advice and guidance about a range of issues, including drugs and alcohol.

When appropriate, students may be referred to more formal support on offer, including both internal and external specialist support agencies.

Service linkage

2.8 In providing a comprehensive set of points of entry to support, the support services work closely to maintain links with Halls of Residence (DSRL), the Union of Students (US) and Chaplaincy in order to ensure students are linked with alternative sources of support where appropriate and within the boundaries of confidentiality.

Objective 3: The Law

3.1 The University will ensure that the law and the University’s responses to its obligations will be made explicit in the information provided under Objective 1.

3.2 The University is obliged to comply with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and other relevant legislation including the Drugs Act 2005 and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (see Appendix D). It will therefore notify the Police if a student is found to be in possession of drugs or to be supplying or producing illegal substances. Furthermore, section 8 of the 1971 Act means that the University, as a landlord such as DSRL, must not knowingly permit or suffer its premises to be used for illegal drug activity, that is:

  1. Producing or attempting to produce a controlled drug in contravention of section 4 (1) of this Act
  2. Supplying or attempting to supply a controlled drug to another or offering to supply a controlled drug to another in contravention of section 4 (1) of this Act
  3. Preparing opium for smoking
  4. The smoking of Cannabis, cannabis resin or prepared opium

University responses

3.3 The University will work pro-actively to identify and support students with problems relating to alcohol and/or drug misuse at an early stage.

3.4 In the event of a student exhibiting behaviour(s) caused by drug/alcohol use which are concerning, worrying or disruptive, the student should be referred to Student Wellbeing.

If the student’s behaviour is assessed as having a detrimental effect on other students or staff, or their academic studies, they will then be asked to attend an initial meeting to discuss the impact of their conduct.

The purpose of this meeting is to assess the response to the concern about the student. A decision will be made as to whether to pursue the matter as a support conduct or a disciplinary matter, as explained in the UoD Fitness to Participate in University Life procedure.

3.5 The Fitness to Participate in University Life procedure is to be used in
one of the two following circumstances:

Using the procedure, the student may be required to attend a Fitness to Participate in University Life Plan Meeting.

The objective of that meeting is likely to be for the student to make a Fitness to Participate in University Life Plan Agreement.

The procedure for making this agreement is detailed in the University of Derby Fitness to Participate in University Life procedure.

3.6 When a student is deemed to be under the influence of alcohol, legal highs or illegal drugs and their behaviour is having a detrimental effect on themselves or others, the student will be requested to leave the area to reduce the impact and risk to others and themselves.

This may be to another area on the premises or off the university premises. If the behaviour is of substantial concern, the police may be contacted for assistance.

3.7 The use, possession, supply or production of illicit drugs and the trafficking in such drugs are criminal offences.

They are regarded as major offences under the University’s disciplinary procedure, except as described in 3.5, when invoking disciplinary procedures allowances may be made if the student agrees to cooperate with a programme of relevant support and management and continues with this programme as is necessary following appropriate assessment.

View the University's Disciplinary Procedure

3.8 In the event of a major offence relating to use or possession of drugs as described above, particularly one involving police charges for or conviction of an offence; or in the case of another major offence carried out when under the influence of drugs, legal highs or alcohol, the University has a right to suspend any student concerned in the case and to expel him or her as detailed in the Rules, Regulations and Responsibilities.

During all stages of the Disciplinary process the student will be provided with details of relevant support services.

If the student is withdrawn from study, then they will be provided with details of external services that they may wish to access for advice and support.

Investigating allegations of drug possession, production or supply on University premises

3.9 Students are reminded that as a condition of their contract with the University and all linked premises, if there are strong and reasonable grounds for suspicion that a student is in possession of a quantity of illegal drugs on University premises, a relevant Senior Manager may request a search of the student’s possessions.

3.10 When consent is given, all searches should be carried out by two members of staff.

3.11 During Core Hours

Any students, inclusive of FE and HE, being required to be searched should be provided with opportunity and support to access the Union of Students (US) for independent advocacy and representation support prior to a search, if the search is made during university core opening hours (9am – 5pm), with US staffing and site presence allowing.

Out of Hours

If a search takes place out of core university hours, a second university staff member must be present, inclusive of any out of hours response Following any search that has occurred out of university core opening hours, the student should be supported to access advice from the US.

Search Refusal

Student(s) may choose to refuse the above option at any time, and if so, should be recorded that the offer has been made and refused. The student should still be signposted to access advice and support from the US.

3.12 The Union of Students (US) has a policy on searching people entering University premises for the purposes of their organised events.

3.13 All and any seizures of illegal drugs must immediately be reported to the Police and this report must be documented in line with the procedure for Reporting Possession or Suspicion of Supply of Illegal Drugs. Appendix A.

Objective 4: Staff Development

4.1 The University aims to ensure that University staff receive appropriate awareness training input to be able to:

4.2 It is recognised that all staff would benefit from some input and knowledge in this area, but that some key groups of staff need to receive mandatory and regular input to maintain their knowledge. Some of these key groups are:

4.3 In order to be deliverable, and cost effective, the approach to delivering this development input is anticipated to include some formal training sessions, as well as the use of:

Authors: Brian Lutchmiah (Student Wellbeing) and Iona Lloyd-Jones (DSRL)
Date: August 2017

External Agencies/Useful contacts

Addaction – Drugs & Alcohol Addiction and recovery (Derbyshire)

Addaction has been renamed We Are With You.

T: 01332 254 511
W: www.wearewithyou.org.uk/

Suite D and G
Bateman Court
Bateman Street
DE23 8JQ

Addaction Leek Outreach (Staffordshire)

T: 0779 523 8178

Russell Street Centre
Russell Street
ST13 5JF

Derbyshire Alcohol Advice Service (all referrals)

T: 0845 308 4010
W: daas.uk.com/

First Floor Dents Chambers
81 New Square
S40 1AH

Derbyshire Substance Misuse Service (18 years and over)

T: 0300 123 1201

Bayheath House
Rose Hill West
S40 1JF

CRI/T3 (18 years and under) - Drugs & Alcohol: Young People & Families

Derbyshire office

T: 01773 522 475

Genesis Centre
King Street
DE55 7DQ

Staffordshire office

T: 01785 241 393

Suite 1
7-8 Mill Street
ST16 2AJ

Drinkline (National Helpline)

T: 0300 123 1110

FRANK (National Drugs Helpline)

T: 0300 123 6600
W: www.talktofrank.com

Alcohol Change

W: www.alcoholchange.org.uk

Reference: Heriot Watt University – University Policy on Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Appendix A: Procedure for Reporting Possession or Suspicion of Supply of Illegal Drugs on University of Derby Sites

In line with The University’s Policy on Drug and Alcohol Misuse, all seizures of illegal drugs will be reported to the Police and this report must be documented by university staff. This procedure sets out how these circumstances will be dealt with.

1. If there is suspicion to supply drugs and this is happening at the time, this should be reported immediately to the police on 999

2. If there is a suspicion of possession of illegal drugs for supply, or supply that is not proven/not currently happening, this should be reported to Derbyshire/Staffordshire Police by calling 101.

The Derbyshire/Staffordshire Police’s response times to incidents involving drugs may vary depending on the classification of the drug and the circumstances of the seizure/suspicion.

In line with Police advice, if they are not attending immediately, a record should be made of the seizure detailing:

  1. when the seizure was made
  2. who the seizure was made from
  3. where the seizure was made
  4. what the substance seized was or a description of the substance
  5. when the drugs were placed in the safe

3. All seizures of drugs should be placed in a safe fit for the purpose. The police should be contacted on T: 101 to arrange collection and agree appropriate action with regard to the person who the drugs were seized from.

4. The designated person responsible for storage should then pro-actively make every effort to ensure that the drugs are collected from the safe by the Police within 1 week.

A record should be made of the collection of the drugs including:

i. the Police Officer collecting them

ii. when the drugs were collected

iii. any action taken by the Police with regard to the person who the drugs were seized from, if known.

5. The records kept should be maintained as confidential record as an audit trail of reports made about drugs, and seizures made. These records should be made available for use in any subsequent University Disciplinary process.

6. The records should also be subject to appropriate scrutiny for the analysis of trends of behaviour both on an individual student, and at University level.

Appendix B: Legislation

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

This act is intended to prevent the non-medical use of certain drugs. For this reason it controls not just medicinal drugs (which will also be in the Medicines Act) but also drugs with no current medical uses. Offences under this Act overwhelmingly involve the general public, and even when the same drug and a similar offence are involved, penalties are far tougher. Drugs subject to this Act are known as 'controlled' drugs. The law defines a series of offences, including unlawful supply, intent to supply, import or export (all these are collectively known as 'trafficking' offences), and unlawful production. The Misuse of Drugs Act also prohibits unlawful possession. The police have powers to stop, detain and search people on 'reasonable suspicion' that they are in possession of a controlled drug.

The laws controlling drug use are complicated. The Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) regulates what are termed controlled drugs. It divides drugs into three classes as follows:

Class A: These include cocaine and crack (a form of cocaine), ecstasy, heroin, LSD, methadone, methamphetamine (crystal meth), magic mushrooms containing ester of psilocin and any Class B drug which is injected.

Class B: These include amphetamine (not methamphetamine), barbiturates, codeine, ketamine and cannabis. All cathinone derivatives, including mephedrone, methylone, methedrone and MDPV were brought under control as Class B substances in 2010.

Class C: These include anabolic steroids, minor tranquillisers, GBL and GHB, and khat.

Offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act can include:

Certain controlled drugs such as amphetamines, barbiturates, methadone, minor tranquillisers and occasionally heroin can be obtained through a legitimate doctor’s prescription. In such cases their possession is not illegal. However, intent to supply another person or supplying another person is.

Solvents (aerosols, gases, glues etc.) are not illegal to possess, use or buy at any age. In England and Wales it is an offence for a shopkeeper to sell them to an under 18 year old if they know they are to be used for intoxicating purposes. The Government has extended this legislation to make it illegal for shopkeepers to sell lighter fuel (butane) to under 18s whether or not they know it will be used for intoxicating purposes. This law came into force on 1st Oct 1999, although it was not an ‘extension’ to the Intoxicating Substances Supply Act, but an amendment to the Consumer Protection Act.

Psychoactive Substances Act (2016)

A psychoactive substance is any substance which;

For the purpose of this Act a substance produces a psychoactive effect in a person if, by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, it affects the persons mental functioning or emotional state.

Exempted substances;

It is an offence to supply or possess with intent to supply these substances.

It is NOT a criminal offence to possess them, although the police will have the power to seize them even if they are held for personal use.

Appendix C: Alcohol

Alcohol misuse means drinking excessively - more than the recommended limits of alcohol consumption. This can lead to a number of harmful physical and psychological effects, such as:


Long term:

Alcohol abuse - regular excessive drinking which has a more tangible negative effect on people’s lives. Examples of this include failing to fulfil work, family or social obligations as a result of recurrent drinking; encounters with the law or emergency services arising from excessive alcohol use or regularly combining alcohol with physically hazardous situations, such as driving or operating machinery.

Binge drinking - usually refers to an episode of heavy drinking over a short period of time, resulting in intoxication, and it can affect health in a number of ways. For example, it can increase the immediate risk of being in an accident, becoming involved in an argument or fight, or taking part in illegal or risky behaviour, such as drink-driving or unsafe sex.

Hazardous drinking refers to drinking above the recommended lower-risk levels but without, yet, showing evidence of harm to health.

Alcohol dependent is when the need for alcohol takes over the central role in someone’s life and they usually end up giving up important activities and relationships because of their drinking. One of the early signs of dependence is that an individual may more alcohol to achieve the desired effect, until they are drinking to avoid experiencing these withdrawal symptoms.


It can be dangerous to suddenly reduce or stop alcohol intake, and individuals should seek medical advice.

Physical withdrawal symptoms may include:

Psychological withdrawal symptoms may include:

Adapted from: https://www.nhs.uk and https://www.drinkaware.co.uk (January 2015)

Appendix D: University Support


Kedleston Road

The University has a partnership with a GP Surgery at the Derby campus. All students living in Derby can register with the practice.

The GP surgery is able to support students to assess and manage the issues with regard to drugs and alcohol use.


The Buxton campus does not have a GP surgery on site. There are local GP services that can be accessed with university support available to access if required.


In providing a comprehensive set of points of entry to support, the support services work collaboratively to maintain strong links to ensure students can access appropriate support within the boundaries of confidentiality, with services including:

Student Wellbeing

Student Wellbeing are able to provide guidance, advice and information on a range of issues and will be able to signpost students and staff appropriate support.

Title: Policy on Drug and Alcohol Misuse

Version: August 2017

Supporting procedure:

  1. DSRL Staff Procedure 24: Drugs and their Users
  2. Fitness to Participate in University Life procedure
  3. Health and Safety Policy
  4. Academic Regulations

Target Audience: Staff and Students

Team and reviewer: Student Wellbeing/DSRL

Date of impact assessment: N/A

Review date: August 2018