Drugs. Many people use them, for many different reasons. College life may expose students to more situations where drug use is taking place. Irish research indicates that over 80% of Irish students have used a drug at some point in their lives and 40% of students have used a drug in the last month. The Gardaí are telling us that drug use is on the rise in the UCC population, and apparently UCC students are more likely to take drugs than students in other colleges. Drug use also carries with it many risks of both short and long-term, personal and societal harms.
So what are UCC doing about it?
The Student Health Department, Students Union, a Student Advisory Group, and a number of academic departments within UCC are working on a collaborative harm reduction project. Our aim is to develop a digital intervention that seeks to reduce harms caused by substance use in the UCC student population.
What is a harm-reduction intervention?
Substance use may be considered to be inevitable in any sector of society, universities are no exception. UCC’s objective is to reduce adverse consequences from substance use in the UCC population.
“We strongly believe that harm reduction is the way forward and we are delighted that we got the chance to work alongside the team developing this survey to try and deliver the best possible harm reduction and intervention material for students. Please take the time to fill out the survey so we can continue to work on a service that will be extremely beneficial for students” – UCC Students Union
How do we do this?
The first step in the development of this intervention is gathering a clear picture of the substance use trends, and capacity for change within the student population. The two statistics presented above represent the only research that has been conducted in Irish students on this topic, so it’s very important that they have the most accurate and up-to-date evidence to develop this intervention. UCC are doing this by using a survey that will capture this information.
The substance use survey will be distributed to a random sample of UCC students between Tuesday 23rd October and Friday 2nd November. This survey will collect information on substance use trends and opportunities for change. Information from people who don’t use drugs is equally as important in building this intervention, so please do complete it regardless of your relationship with drugs.
Most importantly, any information you give in this survey will be completely confidential. You will not be asked any identifiable questions and nobody will be able to track responses back to any individuals.
Keep an eye on your UCC email account for the survey from next Tuesday. If you are one of the students randomly selected, please complete it as accurately and honestly as possible. It won’t take more than 15 minutes, so you can complete it on your phone or laptop while taking a break from studying, or binge-watching Netflix.
This article was requested by the Student Health Department and The School of Public Health.