Leeds University Union, with the support of ADEC, have been busy paving the way in alcohol and other drugs management amongst university students. Working closely with the Leeds University Union Welfare officer, Matt Port, we aim to develop a more positive and progressive attitude towards alcohol and other drugs related issues.

Matt Port. Leeds University Union Welfare Officer. 2018-2019

Importantly, Matt Port’s manifesto has promised to focus on safer practice of drug use, if it is to occur, looking at 4 main areas specifically:

  • Facilitate open conversations about drug use
  • Create relevant guidelines on harm reduction and self-care
  • Make drug testing kits available to LUU
  • Increase availability of drug-related mental health support

To help bring Matt’s goals to fruition, ADEC were asked to work closely with the Leeds University Union (LUU) to comprehensively research and analyse alcohol and other drugs use amongst University of Leeds students. Using our findings, we were requested to provide quality direction for effective, relevant and novel harm reduction interventions for the university.

Why is such a programme important? Matt Port highlights that efficient alcohol- and other drugs-related services at University of Leeds are lacking. Indeed, evidence on Drug Misuse: England, 2018 publication strongly backs up this notion, reporting Yorkshire County to have the highest prevalence hospital admissions of drug-related mental and behavioural disorders in England, and third highest prevalence of poisoning by illicit drugs.  Whilst these figures do not relate to students specifically, it indicates the strong need for intervention.

Matt Port encouraging Leeds University students to complete the survey.

We truly believe the outcomes of this partnership can improve well-being and safety for students, increasing the likelihood of early and appropriate intervention if drug-related issues should occur. Not only should this directly decrease those seeking emergency aid through the NHS, but also lessen the burden of the university’s psychological welfare services, allowing these services to focus on other important areas of mental health.

What did we do?

To combat our task we first developed a carefully thought-out student survey to gather extensive research into the gaps in alcohol- and other drugs- related services at Leeds. We also wished to learn more about the student’s relationships and attitudes not only with illicit substances, but also the university itself.

Leeds University Union campaign page conceptualised by ADEC

We are pleased to report that this survey has been a huge success. Using the results from our research, we have been able to develop handover reports, suggestions and a tailored campaign plan to Leeds University Union. We have also thoroughly revised the policies and disciplinary actions at both the university and the union, in addition to developing a policy report. We have developed a policy report with recommendations to improve policies and better protect students’ and staffs’ integrity. We were able to write an evidence-based, bespoke policy document for Leeds University Union. We truly look forward to monitoring the outcomes and benefits of everyone’s hard work in the near future.

To learn more about our work with Leeds University Union, please follow our Twitter page for updates as they develop.

Are you in an organisation that needs to adapt how it deals with alcohol- and other drugs-related issues? Send us an email to info@adecgroup.co.uk and our team will help you.