Cokeheads on Campus?

Is hard drug use rising among students?

cocaine drugs ucl

Last week a leading British broadsheet ran an article by a postgraduate student alleging that ‘hard’ drug use is on the rise among university students. The Buzz investigates whether or not this is the case at UCL…

There’s no doubt that ‘soft’ Class B and C drugs are a feature of university life. One student remarked that for some students smoking marijuana is no different to drinking a cup of coffee.


It’s seen as a perfectly normal part of student existence and it’s no secret that it’s readily available within a few hundred metres of campus (if even that far).

Other students commented that use of other Class B drugs such as ecstasy is widespread, albeit not to the same extent as the use of marijuana. A number of people attested to a well known London nightclub being a “breeding ground” for the drug- also known as MDMA.

But there were mixed opinions on the use of Class A drugs- specifically cocaine- use of which has allegedly been on the rise. Anyone who has visited a Soho nightclub well known to UCL students will know that being offered cocaine whilst queueing outside is not a rare occurrence- but does anyone actually buy the stuff?

Whilst some students told The Buzz that they had little or no knowledge of hard drugs being taken on or around campus others felt it was a major problem.

One Politics undergrad said that hard drugs were “everywhere, and taken as normal” whilst at the same nightclub where ecstasy is prevalent cocaine is allegedly also a problem.


One student stated that he had been in a confrontation with another punter in the toilets who had accused him of disrupting his attempts to take cocaine which was lined up on top of the urinal.

Meanwhile a London Met student in the same club was escorted out by undercover police after having a conversation about legalisation of marijuana, suggesting that the venue has a reputation for drug use.

As for ‘legal’ highs, this correspondent has been in the company of students sniffing mystery white powders on one occasion, with those taking the ‘high’ apparently having no knowledge of what it may or may not contain.

Whilst it appears that ‘hard’ drug use is still the exception rather than the norm at UCL it is clear that it is increasingly mainstream, given how easy it is to come across cocaine being sold or taken. Drugs like marijuana and ecstasy, meanwhile, seem to be a regular part of life for many students, in spite of campaigns aimed to clamp down on their use.