Most students think taking illegal drugs causes problems for users as well as society and want their universities to take a tougher stance
The Higher Education Policy Institute and the University of Buckingham have worked with YouthSight on a survey of attitudes towards drugs among full-time undergraduate students.
The research shows a majority of students think illegal drugs cause problems for individuals and society – 88% think drug usage causes problems ‘for the mental health of the user’ and 68% think it causes problems ‘for society in terms of contributing to criminality’.
A majority of students want their university to take a tougher stance on ‘students who repeatedly use drugs’ (62%) and on ‘drug dealers’ (also 62%).
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of students have not taken illegal drugs during their time in higher education.
The findings contrast with a report from the National Union of Students (NUS) and Release, published in April 2018, that suggested most students (56%) had taken drugs and nearly two-thirds (62%) ‘showed relaxed attitudes towards student drug use’. The two studies have different methodologies: while the NUS survey was targeted at specific groups (such as ‘Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK channels’), the new survey used YouthSight’s large Student Panel, with the results being weighted to reflect the body of full-time undergraduate students.
Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:
This survey provides an important corrective to some of the wilder ideas about today’s students. They are more hardworking and less hedonistic than is often supposed. A majority recognise the dangers of taking illegal substances.
Some people blame universities when they become involved in students’ personal lives. Others blame them for not doing enough. Our survey shows most students support their institutions taking a tougher, rather than a more relaxed, line on the use of illegal substances by fellow students.
Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, who […]