Scores of new university students in Leeds have taken the chance to learn more about drugs and alcohol misuse at Freshers’ events in the city.

The 18 and 19 year olds, many of whom are away from home for the first time, were keen to learn more about keeping safe during their university careers.

Jane Doyle, of drug and alcohol recovery service Forward Leeds, which is supported by Leeds City Council said: “We’re at Leeds University, Beckett and Trinity during the Freshers’ season to raise drug and alcohol awareness. We’d like to get students thinking about the risk factors around drinking and drug taking. We want them to stay safe.”

Forward Leeds, which launched in July, is now the single point of contact in the city for people with drug and alcohol problems. The service had stalls across Leeds, providing support and advice for everyone who wanted it.

Ms Doyle, Early Intervention and Prevention Lead Practitioner for Forward Leeds, said: “Our Freshers campaign has been really well received – all the stalls have been been bustling with students interested in the information, leaflets and support packs that were on offer.

“Students took part in engaging activities such as ‘Beer goggle darts’ and drank the refreshing fruity water provided by stall buddies Wonder Water, while discussing the importance of choosing not misuse alcohol and drugs.”

Ruth Bradford, Alcohol Harm Reduction Project Coordinator at Leeds University Union, said: “The stall partnership proved to be hugely successful at initiatively drawing students over to try some fruit infused water, where staff from Forward Leeds and Wonder Water could then interact with them.”

Of the 60,000 students who come to Leeds for the Autumn term, 10,000 are new students – who are known as freshers.

Simple advice includes understanding the effects of different drugs and alcohol and if they are taken, to do so in a safe environment with people they trust.

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