Tuesday, May 17, 2022
NewsCollege denies condoning drugs after publishing guide on snorting coke

College denies condoning drugs after publishing guide on snorting coke

A COLLEGE has denied condoning drug use after it gave students detailed advice on how to snort cocaine and take other drugs.

Students at Ayrshire College expressed shock after the information leaflets on how to take several Class A drugs were given out at a freshers’ fayre.

Advice given in the leaflets includes telling students not to share banknotes when snorting cocaine, as this can cause infections, and to use a nasal spray after a “session”.

Students are also advised to make sure the cocaine powder is “as fine as possible” and “if your nose is bleeding take a break”.

Other information explains the need for drinking plenty of fluid when taking ecstasy, to avoid overheating.

The leaflets also explain not to use plastic or rubber bongs, as these can give off toxic fumes.

Students said the information was “too far” and said they were “buckled” by the decision to dish out the leaflets.

But the college say they are “proactive in tackling substance misuse and promoting prevention”.

It emerged earlier this week that a trainee nurse from Blackburn, Lancashire had died after snorting lines of cocaine laced with a dangerous veterinary medicine used to treat horses. A coroner condemned recreational drug use as ‘acts of crass stupidity’ saying he was ‘blown away’ by the number of people who took cocaine without knowing it was made up of.

A section of the Ayrshire College leaflet on snorting drugs reads: “Don’t share straws or notes, this can lead to the spread of infections.

“Make the powder as fine as possible before snorting. Alternate nostrils to lessen damage to one side.

“Take general care of the nose and use nasal spray to clean out the nose after a session.”

Another section added: “Ecstasy can cause overheating and dehydration. Drinking water or non-alcoholic, isotonic drinks can help with dehydration, but users shouldn’t consume more than a pint every hour.”

One student shared screenshots of the leaflet on Twitter last night with the caption: “Ayrshire College at its finest giving out tips on how to take Charlie.”

Another replied: “I was howling when I read mine.”

One said: “Buckled man they’re meant to be anti-drugs yet dishing out all the tips.”

One Twitter user said: “No surely that’s fake”, whilst another added: “Is it really a college officially giving this out as public health info, or a clinic, or student group?”

A spokesman for Ayrshire College said: “Ayrshire College does not condone drug use and works in partnership with NHS Ayrshire and Arran on prevention and education.

“During freshers’ fayres, students are provided with a range on information designed to enhance their wellbeing. Some of this includes information on the effects and associated risks of drug use.

“Ayrshire College is proactive in tackling substance misuse and promoting prevention. As well as advising students on prevention, the College follows NHS Addiction Services approaches to providing information for the minority of people who choose to use drugs.

“If prevention doesn’t work and people take drugs, it is important for them to know how to minimise the negative impact on their health.

“This leaflet, and others like it, is readily available in many public places such as doctors’ surgeries, and other health and community settings.”

The college was formed in 2013 from a merger of Ayr College with Kilmarnock College and the Kilwinning and Largs campuses of James Watt College.

A 2015 study found that around 4 per cent of British people aged between 15 and 34 had taken cocaine in the past year.

A study in the same year found almost 19 per cent of 16-19 year-olds had used illicit drugs in the same period.

Dr Neil McKeganey, Director at the Centre for Substance Use Research in Glasgow, said: “Quite frankly I am staggered that an educational institution should be circulating these suggestions to students which in effect condone and normalise illegal drug use.

“There are a variety of health agencies which can provide information to students on the dangers of drug use and the contact details of services individual students could contact should they get into difficulty as a result of using illegal drugs.

“No educational setting should be advising students how they might use these various dangerous and illegal drugs. What they do have a responsibility for is discouraging students from using these drugs, supporting those who are at risk of such drug use and providing access to student health services to those who get into difficulty as a result of their drug use.

“Ecstasy and cocaine are both highly dangerous substances- the provision of information on how to use these drugs placing students at increased risk of harm is entirely wrong and the educational institution involved should desist from circulating such advice.”


Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Douglas Ross said: “This is an unconventional method of educating about drugs and runs the risk of making drug use seem acceptable.

“While fresh ideas are needed in order to tackle the unhealthy relationship between youngsters and drugs, the consequences have to be fully thought through.

“There is a fine line between educating about the use of drugs and promoting its use. This perhaps goes too far and crosses that line.”

Ayrshire College confirmed the leaflets were produced by substance use charity substance.org.uk.

Alan Matthews, an educationalist at the charity said: “It is very well trying to tell people to say ‘no’ to drugs, but many have already said ‘yes.’

“We certainly don’t want to encourage drug use, but these leaflets shouldn’t be contentious, we need a dialogue.

“Campaigns about saying no to drugs can be counterproductive, they are easily ignored. This is about trying to reduce the harm from substance use, it’s common sense.”

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