Drug use among college and university students: findings from a national survey

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Introduction: There is little known about illegal drug taking among students in further and higher education in the UK. As a result, some of the most fundamental questions about use of illegal drugs among students remain unanswered. The current research aims to answer some of these questions by examining drug use behavior among a national sample of full-time college and university students.

Methods: The data used for the analysis came from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) 2010–2011. The CSEW is a national general household survey of young people and adults. A random sample of ∼26 000 students and non-students was asked questions on drug misuse.

Results: Students were 4.3 times more likely than non-students to have consumed ketamine in the last 12 months. Students who frequently visited clubs were 3.4 times more likely to take drugs than those who reported less frequent night-time activities.

Conclusion: Drug use among students has been a neglected topic area in the research literature in UK. The current research shows that students might be particularly at risk of drug use as a result of features relating to university lifestyle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-55
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2014


  • substance misuse
  • national survey
  • university students
  • college students
  • drugs
  • drug abuse


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