A SURVEY conducted by The University Observer has indicated that more than a third of a representative sample of UCD students has taken illicit drugs. The questionnaire, which was distributed on campus within the past fortnight, asked students had they ever taken illegal drugs. 41.8 per cent of students surveyed responded positively.
Of those students who admitted to previous drug use, 100 per cent had used cannabis, while 15.1 per cent and 16 per cent had used harder drugs like cocaine and ecstasy respectively. Eight per cent of students who took part in the survey had previously used LSD.
Significantly, more than a third of respondents did not feel that there exists any difficulty in securing illicit drugs, with 40.7 of students claiming that they felt drugs were easy to obtain. With specific bearing on UCD, 19.7 per cent of students indicated that drugs were easy to obtain whilst on campus.
18.2 per cent of students questioned – or almost one fifth again – claimed that they had been personally offered drugs on at least one previous occasion during their time in UCD.
The University Observer’s survey has also revealed evidence of a continuing dependency on alcohol amongst UCD’s student population.
Over two-thirds of students (67.9 per cent of those surveyed) responded positively when asked if they had ever had so much to drink that they failed to remember all or some of the previous night. An overwhelming majority of students felt that drink continues to play significant role in UCD activity, with 81.7 per cent agreeing that alcohol is a big part of college life.
Reacting to the findings, UCD Students’ Union President Aodhán Ó Deá conceded that there was some cause for concern, but argued that drug and alcohol levels on campus were not as alarming as they may appear.
“I’d be very interested to see how this parallels with a national level – some of the figures are quite low, particularly for drugs. It may one in five people [agreeing that drugs were easy to obtain on campus], but I think if you went outside UCD, that would be a lot higher.”
“Personally, I don’t think drugs are easy to find at all in UCD; I’ve never been offered drugs”, continued Mr Ó Deá.
Despite the remarks of at least one addiction specialist interviewed by The University Observer who expressed particular concern about so-called ‘hard’ drugs like cocaine increasing in usage amongst students, Mr Ó Deá maintained that alcohol abuse on campus remains the biggest worry for UCD.
“It [may be] easy to find drugs on campus, but it’s the alcohol statistics that are particularly shocking.”