DCU SSDP launch new drug policy for new semester

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The new policy acknowledges the need for DCU to attempt to help students with drug dependencies

DCU Students for Sensible Drugs Policy (SSDP) have launched a new drug and alcohol policy, after a review of the existing drug policy was renewed.

This new policy takes a more compassionate and supportive stance to drug use, drug users and drug dependency, according to SSDP.

The new policy acknowledges the need for DCU to attempt to help students with drug dependencies rather than punishing them or ignoring the consequences.

“We reached out to members of faculty including Claire Bohan and Caroline Mahon earlier in the academic year to discuss the existing Drug Policy on campus, which took a far more limited, punitive stance towards drug use, drug users and people with drug dependency,” a spokesperson from DCU SSDP said.

The new policy will be finalised and published documentation will become available in the coming weeks.

“DCU’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy had the opportunity to voice opinion and recommendations on the new policy, specifically relating to the language used and the supportive message undercurrent to the document. We are overjoyed that the university were willing to allow members of its student body take part in such a process and to hear our voices heard,” the spokesperson added.

The policy states how the university approaches drug-related incidents and issues with their students or on the campuses.

“What it essentially means for students is it will affect how they are regarded by the university around the area of drug use and possession,” the spokesperson said.

“While drug use and possession still remain illegal activities under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the university acknowledges that students still need support.”

“We expect the policy to be well received by the student body, as its one of the first policy changes of its kind in a third level institute in Ireland,” they added.

Michelle Byrne and Damien McClean of USI were at the launch and have been working alongside the SSDP “to develop a drug policy reform and harm reduction framework for USI member institutes across the country,” the spokesperson said.

At the event, the RTÉ Documentary The Hardest Hit with Philly McMahon was screened, which highlights the effects of drug use in Ireland.

“We screened the documentary following a panel discussion at the launch and in parallel, we have launched DCU SSDP’s Decriminalisation campaign for a referendum we hope to hold in conjunction with the SU elections this semester,” the spokesperson said.

“The launch was an amazing success and we are so happy to have had so much support from staff, faculty, and other organisations and individuals.”

Ellen Fitzpatrick 

Image credit: Wikipedia