Irish Independent – Cannabis the drug of choice for university students

  • Post category:News

Cannabis, cocaine and ecstacy are the top three illegal drugs abused by students in one of our leading universities, according to a new study.

The study of a sample of 181 students at University College Cork found that one quarter had used cannabis in the previous year.

The second most common illegal drug was cocaine — used by 6.9pc — while ecstacy was in third place, at four per cent. Other drugs they used also included magic mushrooms, tranquillisers or sedatives, amphetamines and LSD.

The confession over drugs came on top of their admission that 98pc drank alcohol, with 44pc binge drinking once a week.
The stark insight into the risky activities of students emerged in a study by the student health department in the college, which is published in the ‘Irish Medical Journal’.

It also found that male students used cannabis significantly more often than female users while ecstacy use was confined to female students.

Nobody in the study had ever used heroin, drugs by injection or crystal meth.

Asked about the consequences of abusing alcohol, the most common issue was regretting something they had said or done, feeling the ill effects at class or missing lectures.

Nearly one in four said they had been in a fight after drinking, while one in 10 had been a passenger in a car driven by someone under the influence.

Females’ preference was for spirits while males’ first preference was for beer or cider.

The authors found that students drank to be sociable, because they enjoyed it or to relax — but worrying numbers said they did so because they were anxious or depressed.

The female students appeared to binge-drink at least as often as their male friends. A binge was defined as drinking at least four pints or a bottle of wine in one sitting.

The authors said specific actions were needed, including the development of an alcohol and drug group in each university or college.

This group would implement and monitor the effectiveness of college alcohol/drugs policies as well as promote healthier lifestyles.

There should be wider availability of brief intervention therapy and novel alcohol education and behaviour modification programmes.

“Leadership is needed to tackle the issue of alcohol and drug misuse in our third-level institutions. If we don’t act, it is us who will have failed,” the authors added.


Source: Irish Independent, 18/10/10
Journalist: Eilish O’Regan