Politicians have been accused of scapegoating students after a viral TikTok video that outlined new government drug proposals repeatedly mentioned the student demographic.
Victoria Derbyshire, a well-known journalist and TV presenter, published a video on TikTok on Monday, December 6 about the new legislation impacting students.
She said: “If you’re a student and you take drugs at the weekend, then you could have your driver’s licence or passport confiscated.”
The video has received over 760,000 views in the space of 24 hours.
Nottingham students have expressed their opinion on the matter, labelling the proposals as “ineffective.”
The government is set to launch a 10-year plan to combat drug-related crime which reportedly includes the users of class A substances facing confiscation of passports and driver’s licenses.
Katie Wakefield, 20, said: “The government should practice what they preach, drugs are frequently used by politicians.”
Local Nottingham Labour MP, Nadia Whittome, said: “The government is weaponising this issue as part of its culture war.
“The war on drugs hasn’t stopped people from taking drugs.”
Whittome has been very vocal on Twitter stating how drug use has increased since the Misuse of Drugs Act was introduced 50 years ago.
The MP followed up with statistics such as 250,000 people now take heroin compared to 10,000 in 1971.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Recreational drug users” like students who ignorantly take drugs with no thought to the criminality they are supporting and those they are exploiting could be punished with civil penalties that will interfere with the enjoyment of their lifestyles.
One Nottingham student who requested to remain anonymous said: “Maybe look at the reasons why students are turning to drugs in the first place.
“Prevention over consequence.”
These targeted policies could deter people from seeking help in the future.
Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, Vice President of Higher Education for The National Union of Students (NSU) said: “The Government’s new strategy shows they are playing a dangerous game with people’s citizenship and safety.
We should be educating students on reducing drug-related harm and equipping them with the information to make informed choices.”
The government’s intended policy has also faced backlash in relation to the use of illegal substances within parliament itself.
Matthew, 18, said: “Do they not realise the war on drugs has failed, increasing and making laws that punish drug users does not reduce drug demand or consumption.”
Recent revelations have exposed drug use in parliament after The Sunday Times reported that a recent investigation found evidence of cocaine in 11 out of 12 locations tested in the building.
CBJ has approached Nottinghamshire Police for comment and is waiting for further comment.