Drugs Misuse Policy
Adopted in January 2020
Review in Lent Term 2023
Murray Edwards College is committed to promoting a safe and supportive environment in which students can live, study and work. This includes reminding all members of the College that that it can be dangerous to take any drugs other than under medical direction.
Most drugs come under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which makes it illegal to possess certain drugs and to supply them to others. They are classified as class A, B or C, depending on the presumed risk of harm they may cause:
- Class A Drugs (This category includes LSD, ecstasy, heroin and cocaine);
- Class B Drugs (This category includes amphetamines, barbiturates and other weaker opiates, ketamine and cannabis);
- Class C Drugs (This category includes a number of other weaker sedatives and stimulants).
The introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 means that it is also illegal to produce or supply psycho-active substances (previously referred to as 'legal highs') to anyone, or to possess them with the intention of supplying them.
The unauthorised possession, use and supply of these drugs are criminal offences: possession of a Class A drug currently carries a sentence of up to seven years imprisonment, while supplying or producing drugs in this category carry a sentence of up to life imprisonment.
The way drugs are legally classified does not reflect how harmful they are to your mental health. All drugs can all have a negative impact on you, whichever Act of Parliament they come under and whatever class they are given. Drugs affect the way you see things, your mood, and your behaviour. If you have mental health problems, you are more likely to experience negative effects with illegal drugs.
Implications of drug misuse
While support is available for those with a drug dependency, it is important to note that possession, use and supply of drugs are regarded as a serious breach of the College’s Rules of Behaviour, and any student involved may be subject to the College’s or University’s disciplinary procedures. This applies particularly to any student found to be using, dealing or in possession of any Class A Drug. It also applies to any student found to be dealing or repeatedly in possession of any of the Classes of Drugs above. The College's policy is to co-operate fully with the Police in any investigation. Students should also be aware that if the College were knowingly to permit drug offences to take place on its premises, it would itself be liable under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Support for those with drug dependency
The College wishes to offer all possible support to students seeking medical or counselling help regarding drug taking. Those aware of being at risk of drug or other substance misuse are encouraged to seek advice from the College Nurse, Tutors, or the University Counselling Service. The Welfare Officers of the JCR, CUSU and the Graduate Union may also be able to offer advice. Students wishing to seek help outside of the Collegiate University may find the following resources of help:
- Your General Practitioner
- NHS advice on drug addiction
- Change Grow Live Cambridge
- Frank – honest information about drugs
- Narcotics Anonymous
Any student concerned about another student's dependence on drugs should encourage them to seek advice from one of the sources listed above.
Any member of the College concerned about illegal drug use should refer the matter to the Senior Tutor, or to any Tutor.