THE Students Union of University College Cork (UCC) have voted unanimously to introduce drug checking kits at the university after the initiative was pushed for by Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).
The SU will now lobby the University to make the kits more widely available.
The drug checking kits will allow students who have purchased drugs to ensure they have indeed bought what they believe and that the drug is ‘safe.’ The campaign, to bring drug checking kits which can detect potentially lethal contaminants, has been pushed by SSDP Ireland for the last two years.
The University SU will be required to actively lobby the University for better drug safety material.
As part of the campaign, SSDP UCC distributed over €500 worth of drug testing kits to students on campus along with drug use safety information.
Help Not Harm's 'Director of Festival Welfare' Fergal Eccles carried out the test-kit handout events.
Fergal has previously worked alongside legal front-of-house drug checking services at UK festivals.
“By offering a drug testing and other Harm Reduction services to young people, you renew their confidence in authority, making them more likely to seek out help if they find themselves in danger,” he said.
“Not only that, but by providing a tangible service like drug testing, you get a unique opportunity to talk to and advise someone who may have already decided to take an illicit substance - potentially avoiding a disaster,” he added.
The SSDP UCC say they have struggled to meet demand for test kits on campus, running up to five distribution events throughout the year, which all feature one-on-one safety chats.
President of the University, Professor Patrick O’Shea, said UCC will have to examine national policy when considering the issue when.
“We’re looking very closely at national policy on this issue, which we’re guided by very closely.
“It’s obviously a very complex issue.
“The first focus here is on training and education in relation to this,” he added.
“We’ve been working very closely with the Students Union in the past and this will continue.”