Students advised over drug-taking in ‘What’s In The Powder?’ campaign

An awareness campaign that offers third-level students advice on drug-taking has been launched.

While those behind the ‘What’s In The Powder?’ campaign say they are not advocating drug-use, the promotion will see factsheets circulated to students. The sheets offer tips on when and how to take drugs, and what to do while high to ensure a safe experience.

The factsheets tell students that it is always safest not to take illicit drugs, but gives practical advice to those who take powdered substances such as cocaine, amphetamine, MDMA, ketamine, 2C-B and N-Bomb.

Authorities believe that N-Bomb was the hallucinogenic substance taken by Millstreet teen Alex Ryan, who died following a house party last January in Cork. Mr Ryan’s sister Nicole Ryan has since campaigned to raise awareness of the dangers of taking drugs.

Lysette Golden, Clare O’Connor, and Conor Clancy — who are welfare officers for DIT, UCS and Trinity College — launched the campaign with Dublin’s lord mayor Criona Ní Dhálaigh yesterday.

“We do not condone the use of illegal drugs, but if a student chooses to do so, they need to be educated about what they are putting into their bodies, and as welfare officers that is exactly what we have to do: educate,” Mr Clancy said.

The campaign is also backed by the Ana Liffey Drug Project, and its director Tony Duffin said the advice to students could prevent serious harm or death.

“Each year students arrive through the doors of their third-level institutions full of life and looking forward to the future,” Mr Duffin said.

“Part of this experience is to fully embrace this new-found freedom. For some people, this will involve taking illicit drugs. Those people need clear, accurate and evidence-based communication on this subject. That is what this campaign provides,” he said.

Students are warned to wait two hours for the substance they have taken to have an effect; to only snort off clean surfaces; to rinse out their noses with water after taking powdered drugs; and to rehydrate carefully.

The new initiative follows a campaign last year. The ‘What’s In The Pill?’ campaign was backed by drugs minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and has now been introduced to 15 third-level campuses across the country.

Ms Ní Dhálaigh said the next government needs to prioritise the drug problem.

“I personally know families that have seen three successive generations blighted by drugs, lives devastated by chaos, disease and death,” she said.

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