Newcastle University changes zero tolerance policy on drugs
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Newcastle University has relaxed its policy relating to drugs. Previously, any student who was found in possession of drugs within university accommodation was immediately evicted. Now this tough zero tolerance approach has been lifted and replaced with plans to hand out suspended evictions. This means that students found taking, or in possession of, drugs will now be giving an initial warning rather than being removed from halls. Further action will only be taken if the student is caught with drugs again. NUSU, the university’s student union, along with the group Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) campaigned for the policy to be changed, with both highlighting the negative impact evictions have on a students' welfare. Many have since praised the university for their ‘progressive approach’. Speaking to the Chronicle Live, Zoe Carrer, a member of the group SSDP that fought for the policy change, said: "The zero tolerance policy actually made things worse for students. It was a blanket ban on substance so it could be anything… even steroid use would be perceived as reason to kick people out of halls. "The intention was to help students in terms of substance use but it actually made things worse. If they’re kicked out of accommodation it can actually put vulnerable people at more risk of harm." On Twitter people also showed their support:
Sensible change in drugs policy from Newcastle Uni https://t.co/nJEp1m8x7m— Prof. Chris Ashford (@lawandsexuality) November 29, 2015
— Christopher Roche (@confusedape) October 23, 2015Despite softening their drugs policies the University of Newcastle emphasises that they still take drug use very seriously. A university spokesman said: "Our revised policy seeks to reinforce the university’s position of a zero tolerance stance, while at the same time providing guidance and support to all residents. "New posters have been commissioned which will reflect the emphasis on education and welfare in relation to illegal substances."