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Uni students want stricter drug policies but an NUS report says otherwise

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Following an NUS report calling for less punitive drug policies, the University of Buckingham and the Higher Education Policy Institute have released a study claiming to show that the majority of students do not use drugs and that they support a stronger stance on drug use.

The new study comes as the University of Buckingham seeks to become the UK's first "drug-free university" by forcing students to sign a contract not to take drugs on campus.

The University's Vice-Chancellor, Sir Anthony Seldon, has declared that universities have been "fiddling while Rome burns" where drugs are concerned.

The survey claims that 71 percent of students do not take drugs and that that 62 percent want their university to take repeated drug use among students more seriously. This is in contrast to the NUS's report, which found that 56 percent of students had taken drugs and 62 percent did not have a problem with drug use.

NUS Trans Officer Jess Bradley, who spearheaded the NUS effort, said,

"We need to centre the experiences and motivations of students using drugs to understand how institutions can better help them. We cannot possibly create credible policies without grasping this concept.

"There is now an overwhelming amount of evidence within the sector, corroborated by expert opinion, which shows that punitive approaches and taking a tougher stance on drugs can discourage people from seeking the help they need."

Bradley also criticised the HEPI-University of Buckingham study, saying that it was "not only methodologically unsound but [had] huge potential to put the most vulnerable students at risk."

They also said that the report was "incredibly biased, only asking students about potential negative impacts, whereas ours looked at both positive and negative impacts."

According to Bradley, three times more students participated in the NUS's own survey than the HEPI-University of Buckingham study.

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