So, you got an email asking you to participate in the DUHEI survey and don’t know why you were picked or why you should do it. Allow me to take a couple of minutes to enlighten you.
The Drug Use in Higher Education in Ireland survey is the first national, sector-specific survey of its kind and will look to inform a nationwide sectoral action plan to tackle harm caused by drug use by students in higher education, which is currently in the pipeline. Irish research in this area is sparse, with reports of lifetime use varying from 53% (My World Survey 2) to 82% (National Student Drug Survey).
With such little and limited data it is difficult to lobby institutions and. government for supports and changes to policies and procedures. That is why it is so important you fill in the survey if you were selected.
This is not just about your personal response, its about the bigger picture your response will be a part of.
You might wonder what information like this can actually be used for or how it benefits students. As it’s the first of its kind in Ireland, there’s no direct comparison, but a similar type of information gathering was with the SES (Sexual Experiences Survey). While the information that was gained from that was far from ideal, it painted a clear picture of student experiences in colleges across the country and was a driving force in consent classes being made mandatory. You might wonder why that’s so important. Consent is not (currently) thought in schools, in fact there was not much talk around consent in wider society until the Rape trial in Belfast some years ago which unfortunately played out in the media. It was then for the most part people started questioning what was consent and what was acceptable sexual behaviour. This needs to be thought to us, ideally from a young age, but if we have not had that lesson by the time, we get to third level it is so important that we have that opportunity here. After all for many students college is where a lot of awakenings, experimentation and experiences happen for the first time.
Therefore, if the SES survey data was a major factor in not just consent classes being rolled out but many other things, it is hoped that the DUHEI could have similar ramifications down the line.
So, IF you have been sent the survey, PLEASE take the few minutes it takes to complete it. You could be shaping the future for students without even realising!