At the University of Chester, we want our students to know they can approach us for support regardless of involvement with drugs and alcohol. We view a student’s dependency on a substance as a health issue and will support them with it as such.

Harm reduction approaches do not condone or encourage drug and alcohol use. Instead, they prioritise educating students on the dangers of drug and alcohol use, whilst also highlighting the different types of support available to them.

Harm reduction approaches also recognise that students using drugs and/or alcohol will have varying support needs – not all students will be dependent on the substances they are using, but some might be. Additionally, many students will choose to never use drugs or alcohol.

We encourage our students to be respectful of others with differing views and choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Just as there are multiple reasons why someone may choose to use drugs and alcohol, there are various reasons why someone may choose not to – we should not question this decision or pressure them to try.

You can read our updated Harm Reduction Alcohol and Drug policy here.

Please note that if your drug and/or alcohol use represent a risk to others, including the wider student community, children or vulnerable adults we will contact you to discuss a referral to the University’s Safeguarding Lead.  Student Services will offer you appropriate support.

Students on Professional Courses

As a student training to enter a profession, you need to make sure that the relevant professional body, other people who are registered with the body and the general public can have confidence and trust in you.

You need to show that you are suitable to be a member of your chosen profession and that you meet the professional expectations, that you have good character and good health. If you are found to be using drugs including alcohol where there is a risk of potential harm to you or others this will need to be investigated by the University under the Professional Suitability Procedures

We will ensure that you are supported through the process by referral to appropriate Student Services or by signposting you to the Students’ Union Advice Service.

What is the Recovery Friendly University Pledge?

This year, we became the second university in the UK to sign the Recovery Friendly University Pledge. The pledge demonstrates our commitment to welcoming and supporting people in recovery from addictions, valuing the contribution they make, reducing the barriers they face to accessing university and fostering a supportive environment that enables people in recovery to thrive and reach their full potential.

Signing the pledge not only declared our intent to become a Recovery Friendly University, but also celebrated our progress to date.

We have:

  • run recovery focused workshops; Recovery Ally Training through Recovery Connections
  • hosted a high profile recovery friendly photography exhibition
  • celebrated International Recovery Day by lighting up our Chapel in purple
  • set up a peer-support group for staff in recovery and made space for staff and students to share their lived-experience expertise.

Support Available

If you are concerned about someone else’s drug and/or alcohol use, talk to frank has some useful information. You can also contact to explore support from the University if it is impacting your wellbeing. Or contact our 24/7 Student Assistance Programme for lifestyle addictions advice and medical information.

Please see our Support for Addiction pages for more information on various support services for different addictions. For students in recovery, you can access online one-to-one and group support sessions by visiting Support for Students Recovering from Addiction.

Over the coming academic year, we will be working hard to further embed a Harm Reduction approach and our commitments to the Recovery Friendly University Pledge. Information about this work will be updated in line with future developments.

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