In Brief

Clean-living UK university students reject drugs

Modern undergraduates take a dim view of illegal drug use, study claims

Graduates students

UK students are using drugs at a far lower rate than previously thought - and the majority want universities to take a tougher stance on drug use.

A survey of 1,000 undergraduates carried out by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and the University of Buckingham found that only 29% said they had used illegal drugs during their time at university.

In fact, 62% backed universities taking a “stronger line” on drug dealers “and the same proportion would like there to be a tougher stance on students who repeatedly use drugs”, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Mental health appears to be a major motivation for avoiding illicit substances, with 88% of respondents saying that drug use can cause mental problems.

In addition, 44% said they believed binge-drinking was a “very serious” problem on UK campuses.

The results indicate that, contrary to the stereotype of booze and drug-fuelled nights out, students on UK campuses are more sober and clean-living than previously thought.

A larger study released in April by the National Union of Students and charity Release “painted a somewhat different picture of student drug use”, says The Guardian, finding that 56% of undergraduates had taken illegal drugs.

However, respondents were asked about drug use throughout their lifetimes, whereas the Hepi study only looks at drug use at universities.

Hepi director Nick Hillman said their new study “provides an important corrective to some of the wilder ideas about today’s students”.

“They are more hard working and less hedonistic than is often supposed,” he said. “A majority clearly recognise the dangers of taking illegal substances.”

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