Treatment Referral of Substance Abusing Students
Student Substance Abuse Policy
Tampere University is committed to providing students and staff with a safe, healthy, inspirational and supportive environment for working and learning. The University will promptly respond to substance abuse problems as part of continuous efforts to support the wellbeing of students and staff. The Student Substance Abuse Policy establishes the responsibilities of different members of our university community in fostering a positive learning environment and sets forth procedures for resolving conflicts.
The purpose of the policy is to prevent, identify and address problems with substance abuse and increase awareness of the effects of substance abuse on students’ wellbeing, academic performance and future career. The long-term goal of the policy is to reduce substance use among students and create a substance-free campus environment.
The policy applies to all BSc students, MSc students, doctoral students, Open University students and exchange students. Doctoral students who are employed by the University fall within the scope of the Staff Substance Abuse Policy.
In this context, the term “substance” refers to alcohol, illegal drugs and the non-medical use of prescription drugs.
Prevention of substance abuse
The members of our university community are encouraged to raise a concern early on, if they have reason to suspect that substance abuse is affecting the wellbeing of a student. The earlier the concerns are raised, the easier it will be to address the problems before they escalate.
Students, teachers and other staff members who are concerned about the wellbeing of a student should first discuss their concerns confidentially with the student. Discussing the substance abuse problems of a student, for example, in class in the presence of others is not allowed. The purpose of the discussion should be to bring up concerns about the effects that substance abuse is having on the student's academic performance and overall wellbeing. The student can also be encouraged to contact the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) for an overall health assessment.
Referral to treatment
A student may be referred to treatment, if his or her substance abuse has significantly affected his or her academic performance, endangered campus safety, had serious consequences for the student’s health, or if the student’s drug use qualifies as an addiction. If necessary, the designated contact person will set up a meeting for discussing the referral to treatment.
Before the referral meeting, the student will be encouraged to schedule an appointment with the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) to discuss his or her state of health and potential treatment. As appointments with FSHS are confidential, the matters discussed between the student and FSHS professionals will not be brought up during the meeting without the student’s consent.
As stated in the Finnish Universities Act, the University may require a student to present the results of a drug test, if there is reason to believe that the student is under the influence of illegal drugs while completing practical assignments or an internship or if he or she is suspected of being addicted to drugs. The rights and responsibilities of students, the University and FSHS that are set out in the Student Substance Abuse Policy are in line with the requirements stipulated in the Universities Act (Section 43d). A link to the policy and the contact details of the designated contact person can be found further down this page.
Designated contact person
Students and staff are advised to get in touch with the designated contact person to raise a concern about a student’s substance abuse problems. The contact person will provide advice and support for bringing up the problems with the student. The contact person organises the referral meeting (and, if necessary, attends the meeting as a representative of the University), ensures that the student has an opportunity to be heard before undergoing drug testing, and coordinates the drug testing process. The contact details of the designated contact person are listed further down this page.
The University has appointed a Student Wellbeing Committee made up of teachers, students, FSHS staff, other experts and the designated substance abuse contact person. Among other things, the committee plans measures for preventing substance abuse problems, agrees on university-wide procedures for responding to substance abuse, addresses other issues related to student wellbeing and monitors the implementation of the Student Substance Abuse Policy. The committee will further elaborate the policy, if necessary.
Please direct all inquiries to the designated contact person: Liisa Ikkala-Toiviainen, tel. 040 190 1476, paihdeyhdyshenkilo.tau [at] tuni.fi