The Independent is reporting that the majority of students (71 per cent) have not taken illicit drugs at university – and more young people think binge drinking is a bigger issue than the use of illegal drugs, according to a survey of 1,000 students.
More than four in five (88 per cent) believe drug use can cause mental health problems, the research revealed, with two thirds saying it contributes to criminality and health care costs.
The study, from the Higher Education Policy Institute and the University of Buckingham, suggests that 62 per cent want their university to take repeated drug use among students more seriously.
It comes after the National Union of Students (NUS) called on universities to stop reporting students caught with drugs to the police after hundreds of incidents were referred to forces last year.
The NUS report, published in April, had findings which contrasted with the new study, as it showed that 56 per cent had taken drugs and 62 per cent did not have a problem with drug use.
On the latest study, Jess Bradley, NUS trans officer, said it was important to recognise that almost three times more students participated in the union’s survey earlier in the year – and that the new survey was more “opinion based” and targeted towards specific groups of students.
Earlier this year, the University of Buckingham vowed to become the first in the country to bring in a “drug-free” policy forcing students to sign a contract not to take drugs on the campus.
On the study, Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, which is hosting the Festival of Higher Education this week, said: “With illegal drugs, we have been fiddling while Rome burns. Illegal drug-taking causes mental health problems, and is a symptom of them.”
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