Are students taking less drugs?

Do we really want to be part of the first generation ever to be more conservative than their parents? Beth Watson says no.

Imagining university life for our parents in the 60s and 70s conjures up images of two things: LSD and The Beatles. However, these days government stats suggest that drug usage amongst young adults (aged 16-24) has been on the decrease for years and has dropped around 3% in the last year alone, with video games and the internet becoming the addictions of our generation.

When I first read this, I found it surprising. It seems all you have to do is buy a ticket to the latest House and RnB night to see people gurning their tits off, but what’s the reality in halls? Has drug taking at university really become another casualty of the modern age, set to go down the same path as letter writing and student activism?


Has drug taking at university become another casualty of the modern age?

Surely anything unsavoury is even less likely to go on within the leafy confines of Nottingham University campus, especially with fines of up to £150 and the possibility of expulsion if you are caught with cannabis. Speaking to first years about their experiences, it seems that near misses with the warden are certainly putting them off:

“Me and my friends were making bombs of mandy in their room when we heard a knock on the door saying it was the warden. We all shat our pants and one girl pushed it all onto the floor.

“Then we opened the door and realised it was just another one of our friends taking the piss. Needless to say it took a lot of careful skill with a debit card to get that out of the carpet.”

Understandably, no one wants to risk their degree over a couple of lines of the white stuff.  For some people though, it seems like the concept of taking drugs at university never even crossed their mind. One fresher told us:

“I think people at Nottingham have lived fairly sheltered lives. I told a friend I was about to go make some bombs and she genuinely looked at me like I was part of Al-Qaeda.”


“Looked at me like I was part of Al-Qaeda”

It seems that within friendship groups there is a real stigma attached to drug taking, with people even asked to find houses with other people because their friends disapprove of their actions. One first year said:

“A girl I know broke up with a guy she was seeing and he responded by pushing her out into the rain and shouting “crazy ket girl” at her. She’d tried ketamine once.”

Drugs are dangerous and illegal, of course, but I always thought that coming to university, I would be surrounded with open-minded folk who were ready to try new things and didn’t mind if one of their friends had a thing for mary-jane, or if the girl they were seeing had a desire to tranquilise her inner horse.

Mum, Dad, is that you?

Mum, Dad, is that you?

I would not and do not condone taking drugs. However I do feel that knowing about drugs and the way people like to intoxicate themselves is part of real life and is something we should all be aware of by the time we reach university age.

Unless you feel someone is really going to hurt themselves, or has a problem, why not cut them some slack for having a dabble with powders, or leave them alone when they come back smelling of ‘erb?

Also, do you really want to be part of the first generation ever to be more conservative than their parents? We all come to university to expand our minds after all; some people just prefer to do it in different ways.