Substance misuse among university students has received considerable attention in the United States and in a few other countries around the world. Much less is known about student substance misuse in the United Kingdom (UK). Research has shown that use of alcohol, illegal drugs, new psychoactive substances, and diverted prescription medications is common in the student population. There is concern that substance misuse and the harms associated with it are going unrecognised in the UK and that more could be done to prevent student involvement in these substances during their time at university. This paper presents findings from the first Higher Education Alcohol and Drug Survey (HEADS) which was launched across Wales in May 2016. The survey aimed to investigate the extent of and reasons why university students begin, or continue, drug involvement, as users, buyers or sellers during their time at university. The paper considers the prevalence of substance misuse and associated behaviours among university students and examines the nature, causes and consequences of these behaviours. The paper also considers the implications for policy and for the development and implementation of prevention and support interventions targeted at university students.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2016
EventAmerican Society of Criminology Conference 2016: The Many Colors of Crime and Justice - Hilton Hotel, New Orleans, United States
Duration: 16 Nov 201619 Nov 2016


ConferenceAmerican Society of Criminology Conference 2016
Abbreviated titleASC2016
CountryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

    Research areas

  • Drug use, drug misuse, drug abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, University students, Wales, Higher Education Alcohol and Drug Survey (HEADS)

ID: 1206365