A number of Dublin universities have come together to launch an awareness campaign which aims to “break the silence” amongst third level students around taking illegal drugs.
Welfare officers from Dublin Institute of Technology Students' Union (DITSU), Trinity College Students' Union (TCDSU) and University College Dublin Students' Union (UCDSU) launched the #Whatsinthepill? campaign last week, in association with drugs.ie and the Ana Liffey Drug Project.
The poster campaign aims to increase awareness amongst students to the effects of taking illicit drugs. It also promotes a harm reduction strategy, which enables students to become more aware and educated when it comes to taking illegal drugs.
As part of the awareness campaign, which was also launched by Dublin’s Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh, posters and factsheets regarding this issue will be distributed on campus.
Minister for Justice and Equality Aodhán Ó Riordáin was also in attendance at the launch in Dublin's Mansion House and said it was, “great to see positive work like this which is informed by evidence".
“Drug use is a health issue, which affects all strata of society and it is important to make sure that people have the information they need to make healthy choices
Both the universities and the Ana Liffey Drug Project are to be commended for this campaign,” Mr.Ó Riordáin said.
DITSU Welfare Officer, Lysette Golden, warned that, “it is always safer not to take illegal drugs,” but added that, “students who choose to do so need to know the facts.”
“This campaign is designed to do one thing; to educate those around us, those who may be curious and those who do indeed take drugs. We want to start a conversation that so many colleges, institutes and people are afraid to talk about.
"Drugs are all around us and it's time we began an open conversation about this issue and change the attitude toward drug use,” she asserted.
Ms.Golden promised that the campaign provided, “non -judgmental, solid and fact based information regarding drug use that could save lives.”
TCDSU Welfare Officer, Conor Clancy, said that it was, “encouraging to see Government representatives and the first citizen of the city endorse a campaign by students and the drug services that is in touch and tuned in to the realities of drugs in this country.”
Mr.Clancy added that the purpose of the campaign is to, “arm students with factual information with which they can question what’s in drugs and make their own choices.”
UCDSU Welfare Officer, Clare O’Connor, also said that the campaign, “acknowledged that recreational drug use does happen around Ireland and was trying to put in place a harm reduction strategy in that context.”