Cocaine traces discovered in Oxford’s Bodleian library

Ben Redwood 24 January 2014

A recent investigation into the use of class-A drugs in Oxford has revealed the presence of Cocaine in several on-campus sites of the University, including the Bodleian library and the Oxford Union.

The investigation, conducted by the Oxford student newspaper Cherwell, used chemical cocaine swabs to detect the presence of cocaine on the surfaces of bathrooms in buildings frequented by students.

Of the 10 sites checked over a three day period, 6 in total returned positive results for the presence of cocaine.

Several of these are spaces designed for study rather than recreation, such as the Bodleian Library (the main research library of the University), the Bodleian Radcliffe Camera, the Manor Road Building (the site of the Social Sciences Library), and the Oxford University Language centre.

The swabs, purchased from, claim to have a 95% accuracy rate in detecting cocaine.

A spokesperson for Oxford University commented, "We do not believe there is a problem of widespread cocaine use at Oxford University, and note that the accuracy of the cocaine test swabs would probably not stand up as evidence in court. The findings are of concern, however, and the relevant University authorities have requested more information about how this investigation was carried out. The University advises those who are abusing any substance to seek help. There is a range of support available, promoted bythe University, the colleges and the student union."

Likewise, a spokesperson from the Oxford Union has stated, “Any form of drug use on the premises of the Oxford Union constitutes serious misconduct and is absolutely not tolerated[…] If an incident involving drug use is discovered, it is taken extremely seriously, and we co-operate closely with the police on the issue.”