Substance Use and Misuse Amongst Students

contact: Denise Long, Director of Student Support and Wellbeing


1. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, UCL is required to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its employees, students and others at work. UCL is aware that the misuse of drugs and alcohol poses serious risks to the health and general well-being of misusers and those with whom they come into contact; this situation also raises disciplinary issues for UCL authorities. In addition, substance misuse within UCL presents a potential threat to the reputation of UCL. The principal aims of this policy statement are to foster student awareness of UCL’s attitude and position in relation to the misuse of illicit drugs and alcohol within UCL premises and to encourage the provision of relevant information and advice regarding drug and alcohol use.

Use of drugs and alcohol on UCL premises

2. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it is a criminal offence for UCL knowingly to permit the use, production or supply of any controlled drugs on its premises. It should be clear, therefore, that UCL does not condone the possession, use or supply of illicit drugs on any of its premises. In the case of drug misuse, UCL will take appropriate disciplinary action which may include referral to the police.

3. Whilst alcohol is not illegal and its consumption, subject to the Licensing Act 1964, is permitted on UCL premises, UCL is concerned about the detrimental effects of excessive alcohol consumption on the overall welfare of students. In particular, UCL seeks to discourage the inappropriate use of alcohol particularly during the day and the excessive consumption of alcohol during social events; the additional serious risk to health occasioned by the combination of drugs and alcohol is also noted. UCL does not condone the misuse of alcohol and students who are found to be acting in an inappropriate manner under the influence of alcohol may be subject to disciplinary action.

Advice and information

4. In association with the UCL Union, UCL will provide relevant information and advice for students about health and other risks that may result from the misuse of drugs and alcohol. UCL, and UCL Union, will also ensure that information about support and treatment services, both within UCL and outside, are made readily available. Students seeking help for drug and/or alcohol misuse are regarded by UCL as having a health problem and will be treated accordingly. Confidential issues will be respected.

November 2013