Framework for response to the use of illicit substances within higher education
On the 24th June 2019 the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D convened a meeting in Dublin to review the issue of drug use in higher education. The meeting was prompted by recent tragic deaths among third level students as a result of drug use. Views were sought from a range of academics, practitioners and experts in education, healthcare and law enforcement on the issue of drug use in Irish Higher Education.
Following this meeting, the Minister initiated a number of activities to further understand and develop responses to the issues discussed. Amongst these was the establishment of an interagency Rapid Response Group (RRG) with the goal of drafting a multi-component Action-Plan, consistent with national strategy. The RRG was chaired by Dr Andrew Power, Registrar of IADT and the lead was Dr Michael Byrne, Head of Student Health Department, UCC. The group met on the 25th of September to begin its work and this report is the outcome of its deliberations.
Rapid Responce Group Members
Core actions recommended for higher education institutions
In order to reduce the number of students who decide to use drugs and reduce the harm experienced by those students who have chosen to use drugs, HEIs are recommended to undertake the following four core actions:
1. Each higher education institution should develop a Drug and Alcohol Policy specific to the HEI.
2. Each higher education institution should develop and implement a Drug and Alcohol Action Plan specific to the HEI and their students
3. Each higher education institution should assign to a Senior Officer of the HEI the responsibility for leading the development of the Policy and the implementation of the Action Plan.
4. Each higher education institution should facilitate student engagement with the collection of national level data on drug use in HEIs.