Three out of ten EUR students has used hard drugs at some point. That is shown by a research of Credo Magazine, the magazine of faculty association Cedo Nulli.

Robbert de Hoogh (24), editor-in-chief of Credo Magazine and author of the article, tells that members of the editorial office in their own social surroundings more and more often heard stories about people who take a pill now and again when they go clubbing. Additionally, the psychology student states, it seems that students start doing so at ever younger ages. “We found these observations alarming and hence wanted to know what was really going on with drug use among EUR students. There appeared to be little data about it, so we did our own research.” The editors got advice from the Trimbos Institute (knowledge institute for mental health and addiction) to set up the research and about the risks of using hard drugs.

XTC most popular drug

In an online survey, which was spread among a large number of EUR students and to which 365 students from seven different faculties responded, 30 percent of the respondents indicated to have used hard drugs at some point. XTC is by far the most popular drug among EUR students. 29,1 percent says to have at some time experienced with the substance. Additionally, another 31 percent says to never have used it, but to be willing to try it sometime. Also cocaine (12,7 percent of respondents used the substance) and speed (11,5 percent) are being used now and again by the Rotterdam students.

Of the XTC-users, 63,6 percent does it a few times a year. A small number of respondents (15 percent) says to have only used it once and a small part says to use the substance on a monthly (12,1%) or weekly (3%) basis.

Most usage among RSM students

Harddrugs seem the most popular among students of RSM. Of those, 35,2 percent have used something sometime. At the Erasmus MC, there is less drug usage. There, only a quarter of the students said to ever have used hard drugs.

Students start younger

Also, De Hoogh’s presumption that students start at increasingly lower ages with hard drugs seems to be confirmed in the research. “That question was hard to answer, because we had only the single moment of measurement and couldn’t find any data on earlier times of measuring”, says De Hoogh. In the survey, the respondents were also asked at what age they used hard drugs for the first time. The respondents were categorized in age groups and it was looked at what percentage of the categories had at least once used hard drugs in or before their 18th year. “There proved to have been a substantial increase in five years in the percentage of respondents who indicated to have had used hard drugs in or before their 18th year.” Among the 23-year olds this is not even five percent, but among the current 18-year olds, 17,9 percent has at some point used hard drugs.

Substantial risks

In spite of it all, De Hoogh doesn’t want to only show the factual use of drugs among EUR students. ‘We want to point out with our article that there are substantial risks involved in using drugs, even if it’s only incidental.’ According to the editor-in-chief of Credo, students often think frivolous about drugs like XTC. In the article – which will appear next week in the new issue of Credo Magazine – De Hoogh describes the risks. For instance, ‘wrong’ pills can contain poisonous substances, and the average dosage of MDMA (the active substance in XTC) has increased from 80mg per pill in 2007 to 123mg today. According to the Trimbos Institute, the desirable effects will not increase, but ‘only the chance of undesirable effects like sickness, headaches, angst and panic attacks and even acute psychoses.’ The taking of XTC-pills will also give you a higher body temperature which can cause dehydration and overheating, decrease muscular function and even acute liver or kidney failure. TF