Back in 2017 Boomtown introduced optional drug testing facilities in an attempt to make drug use at the festival much safer. Whilst it didn’t happen this year due to legal complexities, it was widely praised and many now argue that similar facilities should be introduced to UK universities.
Critics have argued that drug testing only encourages drug use and potential addiction, but the fact of the matter is that, whilst drug use is illegal and potentially very dangerous, it is a significant part of university culture, and students are likely to use drugs no matter what. At Boomtown, the testing facilities also involved volunteers, whose role it was to speak to those having their drugs tested about their drug use and the risks involved. This gave users the chance to seek help if they were struggling with addiction, and also meant that users were better aware of the potential risks involved. It was said by the head of the paramedics for the event that there were far fewer drug related incidents in 2017 compared to previous years, which they put down to the introduction of the drug testing.
Since there is already a significant percentage of university students who use drugs, it would make a lot of sense to introduce testing facilities to help reduce the risks, but there should also be educators and support teams on hand to address potential addiction and other serious problems. If universities, and society as a whole, want to tackle social issues revolving around drug use, then the introduction of more progressive measures is undoubtedly crucial.