Harm Reduction

Do you take drugs? Stay safer with free testing kits, safety alerts and more

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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 in 2022 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.

Get informed

If you’re going to take a drug, it’s sensible to get as informed as possible before you take it. We’ve launched Staying Safe, an e-learning module, designed to give you up to date information to help keep yourself and others safe.

Designed by experts in medicine, drugs, the law, sexual consent and most importantly, our students, we hope this is a platform you can use throughout your time at Manchester to get clued up about drink and drugs. Staying Safe takes a no-judgement harm reduction approach and contains accurate and useful information and advice.

Collect a 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 dodgy circulating in Manchester.

Get help if you need it

If you feel unwell, seek help.

  • In halls, call Campus Support and Security. They will only use information about what you have taken to provide appropriate medical care and not for any disciplinary purposes.
  • At events, go to a bar and ask for medical help. Look for someone with a radio and ask them to call for medics.
  • Elsewhere, call 999.

If you have ongoing 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.

Find community

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.

Be mindful of others

Not everyone takes drugs. If you choose to use, be considerate of friends, housemates, or neighbours who might not want to see you taking drugs or high. And be mindful that if you are on a course with professional accreditation, many professional bodies have conduct requirements around drugs and alcohol.

Find out more about our updated harm reduction approach

We do not condone the use of illegal drugs or the misuse of prescription drugs, but we understand that some students may choose to use drugs during their time at university. Rather than simply telling students not to take drugs and hoping for the best, we want to ensure that students have the resources, support and knowledge needed to make informed choices and reduce harm. We’ve updated our harm reduction approach in response to your feedback and you can read latest version here.

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