According to the National Student Drugs Survey 2015, 82% of students have tried illegal drugs
According to the National Student Drugs Survey 2015, 82% of students have tried illegal drugs


UCD Students' Union values:

Acting with Integrity

Showing Compassion

Empowering Students



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UCDSU, Ana Liffey Drug Project, DITSU & TCDSU

Drug Harm Reduction Campaign

According to the National Student Drugs Survey 2015, 82% of students have tried illegal drugs; the most common reasons students listed for consuming drugs were fun 27%, curiosity 19% and “switching off” 13%. Among the lowest was peer pressure at 6%.

National Student Drugs Survey 2015
National Student Drugs Survey 2015
National Student Drugs Survey 2015

As such, our drug harm reduction focus this year was not on a “Just Say No,” or “Don’t Do Drugs” message. Instead, we concentrated on getting precautionary information out about the safest way to use drugs if you make a decision to take them.

This purely informative, non-moral approach on student drug use was a first for us and for other participating universities. We have worked with the Ana Liffey Drug Project, DITSU & TCDSU to create and promote an online pool of resources for interested students.

These resources give an important message, with a pragmatic focus – it is always safest not to use drugs at all, but if you do choose to do so, that it is vital to have access to unbiased, evidence based information.

Campaign Launch

What’s in the Pill?

Ecstasy pills are a common feature of Irish nightclubs and house parties. The main active ingredient of Ecstasy is normally the chemical MDMA. However, Ecstasy pills often contain many other chemicals that the user may not know about and these chemicals can pose very serious health risks.

In 2014, there were a number of deaths across Europe related to PMA and PMMA — drugs often sold and taken as Ecstasy.


Our ‘What’s in the Pill?’ campaign was launched in the Mansion House Dublin on October 23rd 2015 to raise awareness of the different chemicals that can be sold as an Ecstasy pill. These can all have different, unpredictable risks associated with them, including hospitalisations, deaths and possible mental health issues. The main message of the campaign is that you can never tell what’s in a pill just by looking at it. The safer option is always to not take drugs at all, but we acknowledge that a lot of students do use Ecstasy and the campaign focus is to promote precautionary measures:

Only take half a pill at a time, although half can be risky as well.

If you don’t come up as quickly as expected, don’t assume the pills were fake.

Some pills take longer to take effect than others.

Never “double drop”, or take two pills at once.

Never mix your drugs. Alcohol, other club drugs and prescribed drugs call all interact dangerously with pills, and with each other.

If dancing, drink water regularly, but don't go over a pint per hour. Take breaks from dancing.

Second Campaign Launch

What’s in the Powder?

A lot of different drugs are sold in the form of white powder and drug users can never be sure of what exactly they’re buying. Generally white powders are uppers (stimulants), downers (sedatives) or trippy (hallucinogens).


Some examples of substances that come in white powder are stimulants cocaine, amphetamine, MDMA, mephadrone ; sedatives ketamine, GHB, PCP; hallucinogens 2C-B, N-Bomb, Alpha-Methyltryptamine.


Our ‘What’s in the Powder?’ campaign was launched in the Mansion House Dublin on April 1st 2016 and is a purely informative campaign on illicit substances in the form of powder. It’s impossible to be completely sure of what you’re buying in powder form but if you do decide to buy and use, we’ve drawn up posters, leaflets and a printable online fact sheet to explain the associated risks and to provide advice on the safest way to take these kind of drugs:

It is less risky to start with a small dose to see what effect the drug has. However, even a small dose can be risky.

Not all powders are suitable for snorting.

After taking the drug, wait 2 hours. Some drugs can take longer than others.

Use your own ‘tooter’. Sniffing off unclean surfaces such as toilet seats or phones and sharing your tooter increases the risk of getting infections.

Rinse out your nose afterwards.

Drink water regularly, but don’t go over a pint per hour.

If dancing take regular breaks.

Don’t mix with other drugs, including alcohol or prescription medication.

Only use in a safe environment. Using psychoactive substances at clubs or festivals can be frightening.

Seek help if needed and be honest with emergency services about what you’ve taken.



The 'What’s in the Powder?’ campaign is the result of a collaboration between three Dublin universities – DIT, TCD, and...

Posted by Drugsdotie on Friday, April 1, 2016