My Experience of Drugs at Uni

A current Leeds student gives their experience of drugs at Uni.

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Coming to University means trying endless new things for the first time. For some, that includes doing their washing or cooking a meal. For others, that includes drugs. If I had to think back to the education I had received throughout school on drugs, I wouldn’t have to think very hard. That’s because it simply consisted of a police officer coming in for 20 minutes and telling my class not to do drugs. A measly 20 minutes is all that was afforded to a generation of children who would inevitably grow up and be given countless chances to try them.

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I came to University with the impression that drugs were indeed ‘bad’. But when has something being ‘bad’ ever stopped a curious teenager?

In fact, when you couple that burning curiosity with first-time freedom and independence, a recipe begins to form. Top it all off with the predominant drug culture within university culture, I was going to take drugs whether I thought they were ‘bad’ or not.

The most shocking aspect of the drug culture when I arrived as a naïve impressionable fresher was not the drugs themselves. It was the ease with which I could attain them. It wasn’t very hard to find a number, someone in your new flat most definitely had one. One text and within the hour anything you wanted was at your door.

It was like ordering something off JustEat but instead of food it was marijuana or cocaine.

I had smoked weed a few times before coming to University and done MDMA once, however this paled in comparison to how I experienced drugs at Leeds. It seemed as if everyone around me was on it, and I knew people who couldn’t go on a night out without a baggie of MDMA or ketamine. In fact, ketamine definitely seems to be the drug of choice in Leeds as it’s cheap. During my first year I was doing MDMA every 2 weeks because I loved the way it made me feel on a night out. I craved the closeness to other people that this white powder offered. It pulled the raw human emotion, that we often bottle up when sober, out of me. Touch felt beautiful, and I was in love with everyone around me, as they were with me. It also made music sound euphoric, to the point that I didn’t want to stop dancing.

However the comedowns started when I started to build up a tolerance after a few months.

These came the day after a night out, when all the serotonin in my brain had been spent. They lasted a couple of days and I felt so low that I would just cry and not leave my bed. Since then I take MDMA a lot less.

Two years have passed and I still take drugs, but not to the extent that I did in my first year. I drink little alcohol these days, as despite it being legal, it’s the drug that had the greatest effect on my mental health. I don’t think that people who take drugs are bad. I believe that students take them as a way to have fun on a night out and to dissolve the demanding pressures of University life. Most people who take drugs, including myself, are sensible about it. I know my tolerance levels and I know what drugs never to mix. I had to find out all this information online, because the people in charge still believe that the best policy is abstinence.

People are still going to take drugs whether they are illegal or not. People have died from drugs.

Students have died from drugs. We cannot prevent drug use but I believe that we can prevent casualties from drug use if drug education is introduced. This old, tired, ineffective rhetoric of ‘don’t do drugs’ can be replaced with a conversation where everyone is heard, most importantly the drug takers. If you tell someone not to do something, they still might do it. If you give them information and allow them to make an informed choice, they still might do it. The point is that they can do it more safely. Of course, the safest way to take drugs is to just not take them. But people will. Curiosity is human nature.


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