Buckingham University aims to be UK's 'first drug-free campus'

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image captionBuckingham University has not yet set a date for when it will introduce the contracts

A university is to ask students to sign contracts promising not to take drugs on its property in a bid to become Britain's first drug-free campus.

Buckingham University vice-chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon said institutions were "failing students on drugs".

As reported in the Sunday Times, the number of UK students disciplined for drug use has risen by 42% since 2015.

But former chief constable Tom Lloyd said Buckingham's proposal "infantilised" adult students.

The Sunday Times figures came from freedom of information requests.

Most involved smoking cannabis, but increasing numbers involved hard drugs or dealing.

image captionSir Anthony said the aim of the contract was "to be compassionate and enlightened, helping our students learn how to be fully adult"

Sir Anthony said: "Student lives are needlessly being lost and imperilled.

"Universities need to shake themselves up and take more responsibility for students in their care."

Students will be asked to leave if they continue to take drugs on campus - which is in Buckingham - after signing the contract.

Mr Lloyd, who was Cambridgeshire's chief constable and is now a drug policy adviser, said Sir Anthony was "extremely naive to think that he can make universities drug- free".

He said that "university is an opportunity for [students] to develop without being mollycoddled", and that "prohibition is a hugely costly, counter-productive and harmful failure".

Mr Lloyd said the best way to reduce harm to students was to allow the drug testing organisation The Loop to check drugs before use.

Harry Shapiro, the director of the online drug information service DrugWise, said: "People take drugs for all sorts of reasons, so where is the pastoral care in all this?

"I think there needs to be a proper consultation on this with health professionals and also those responsible for student welfare."

A Buckingham University spokesman said it was working on the details of implementing the policy, but no date had been set for its introduction.

She said it was a "small" university with 3,000 students, and she believed drug use there would be in line with national figures.

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