Harm Reduction Safety

Do you take drugs? Testing kits, safety alerts and other support now available

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Harm reduction: an approach designed to reduce the adverse effects of risky behaviours.


The safest way to take drugs is not at all, but we recognise that lots of people, including some of our students, chose to use drugs anyway. Our University moved from zero tolerance to a ‘harm reduction’ approach to drugs earlier this year so that we could give you better support, and the tools to keep yourself as safe as possible, if you use drugs. Find out more below.

Collect your free, anonymous drug testing kit

A baggy doesn’t come with a list of ingredients. There’s no way of knowing what you’re taking without getting it tested:

There are free anonymous drug testing kits available for you to take home from the Advice Centre, on the first floor of the Students’ Union, from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. There are kits for ecstasy, ketamine, cocaine, GHB, cannabinoids and benzodiazepines.

Find out more on the Students’ Union website.

Check UoM Student News for drug alerts

Manchester Drug Analysis and Knowledge Exchange (MANDRAKE), are an organisation based at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) who chemically analyse drugs across the city.

They issue alerts when there are dangerous drugs in circulation. Recent alerts include green ‘Rolex’ and orange ‘Donald Trump’ ecstasy tablets which have been tested and found to contain dipentylone, a synthetic cathinone, a relation to the amphetamine family of drugs.

We now share MANDRAKE drug alerts on Student News – so you know when there’s something dogy circulating in Manchester.

Get support with drugs and alcohol

DAPS (Drug and Alcohol Support Group) is a new drug and alcohol peer support group on campus. They are run for students, by students, and aim to provide a place to talk openly about drug and alcohol use, staying safe, and find community. You can find out more on their Instagram here.

If you have significant issues or want medical advice, you can speak to your GP (there’s now one on campus), or reach out to Eclypse, a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for young people in Manchester. They drop into the Advice Centre in the Students’ Union every Wednesday between 12pm and 4.30pm.

Just say know

If you’re going to use drugs, knowledge is power. A course about alcohol and other drugs, developed by Professor Adam Winstock, will soon be available here. It has been designed by experts in the field of medicine, drugs, the law, sexual consent and of course, by many students. See the video below for more information.

Help shape our harm reduction policy

Whilst we’ve moved away from our previous position of zero tolerance, we’re still developing a formal University harm reduction policy – and we want your input. We’re running a series of focus groups in early December 2022 and we want your input, whether you have taken drugs or not.

Sign up to express interest here and we’ll contact you to let you know when the focus groups have been scheduled. If you’re selected to take part you’ll receive a £15 Amazon voucher.

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