Coke, pills, ket: The most popular drugs at each university in the UK

Something’s going on in Bristol


Bristol is officially the home of drugs, as UWE has once again dominated the drug league as the university taking the most pills, MDMA and laughing gas.

UWE are still taking more drugs than anyone else, and came top of our table for taking MDMA, ketamine, cocaine, and laughing gas last year. Our huge drug survey of 11,000 people across the country showed just how much students take drugs, and we crunched the data to find out how popular each drug is in each city.

Bristol is by far the stronghold of most drugs. UWE came top for ecstasy pills, MDMA, and laughing gas. It also scored highly for cocaine, and well above average for ketamine and weed.

Drugs are popular in Manchester, Newcastle, Sussex, and Sheffield too, all scoring highly in most categories. Warwick and Cambridge came close to last in every category. Aberdeen are taking a lot of pills but not much else.


Pills are getting stronger, and so is UWE’s penchant for taking them. Standing at the top of the table, almost three quarters of UWE students say they take pills regularly. They’re by far the biggest users of ecstasy pills with nearly four per cent more than their closest rivals Northumbria, who score 70.66 per cent. Aberdeen follow closely with 70.59. The national average was 48.99 per cent, making it more popular than cocaine and ketamine.


With the national average at 64.05 per cent, UWE lead the way on taking MDMA with a slightly worrying 82.32 per cent of students there saying they regularly take the drug. Sheffield come in second with 79.93 and Manchester keep up their drug rep in third with 78.36. Leeds and Northumbria are in fourth and fifth.

Last year, UWE topped the MDMA league with 84 per cent.


The drought appears to be over. At least in Manchester, where 53.4 per cent of students said they regularly take cocaine. Manchester, Bristol and Newcastle made up the top three, with Northumbria close behind in fourth and Leeds in fifth. On average, just under a third of students (32.91 per cent) take ketamine occasionally, every month or even more often. This puts Manchester 20 per cent above the national average.

UWE are knocked off top spot, scoring 55 per cent last year, dropping to 44.75 per cent this year.


Always near the top, Northumbria claim first place for biggest users of cocaine with 71.86 per cent saying they have used it regularly. John Moores follow very closely behind, with 71.09 per cent, and sesh heads UWE in third with 65.75 per cent. What aren’t they doing?

The national average is considerably lower than these scores, at 48.47 per cent, showing a divergence in popularity. Compare that to Warwick, seemingly always bottom, with just 28.99 per cent.

Laughing gas

The drug of festivals and shooting up in price since it was made illegal, laughing gas’ popularity has dwindled slightly. But it hasn’t put UWE off getting their hands on as many balloons as possible. They top the table once again, with 82.32 per cent – a ridiculous eight per cent higher than their closest rivals Manchester with 74.25. Bristol take third spot with 71.26 per cent, Leeds fourth with 70.41, and a rare appearance for Birmingham in fifth with 70.03.

Nos hasn’t made it’s way over the water – only 16.29 per cent of students in Belfast admitted taking it regularly.


Everyone’s done weed. Obama, David Cameron, probably your dad too. But none more so than Sussex, who come top of the stoner league at 86.01 per cent. They’re followed by Sheffield at 84.69 per cent and Bristol – coming above their poly counterparts UWE on a rare occasion – with 84.20 per cent.

Cambridge remain boring, with just over two thirds saying they regularly smoke weed. Sussex retain their title from last year, when they scored 87 per cent.