It’s the time of year where Concrete asks you some important questions about your alcohol and drugs usage. The survey was taken by mainly UEA students, with the main age group of respondents being 19-20.
Are you surprised that 91% of respondents have played drinking games like Ring of Fire? No, nor are we. Enjoy reading through the answers and keep your eyes peeled for the Concrete Sex Survey later this year!
Features editor Lauren Cope summarises the results below. Click here to view them in full.
Interestingly, only 68.2% of people’s drinking habits have changed since coming to university, with 85.8% of those drinking more. It comes as no surprise, however, that a massive 91% of respondents have played drinking games including Ring of Fire. Clearly not many of us have escaped the dirty pint.
However, although many of those claim they drink more since arriving at UEA, throughout the course of university most commented that the frequency of their drinking dwindles, even if the consumption does not. Perhaps hard work and deadlines in second and third year mean students can only binge drink when they get the chance. One respondent claimed: “In first year I drank much more. Now I drink less but often in vast quantities”.
When asked how alcohol had affected their relationships, many commented that it had been much easier to make bonds with new friends on a night out, while others said their drinking had a negative effect on their romantic relationships. Some commented they had cheated, others claimed they had more arguments when they were drunk or disliked the amount their partner drank, and one respondent just simply put: “I messed up”.
85% of respondents said they drink more since starting university
It is interesting that 85.5% of people think their levels of drinking are acceptable, while only 53.9% think their friends are, possibly down to denial about the truth of their alcohol consumption. After all, few of us sit at home and really analyse how much we drink, and whether it’s too much – we’re students, right?
When asked about illegal drugs, one regular answer throughout the survey concerned cannabis. A large proportion of respondents saw no reason for cannabis being illegal and happily smoked it. Even those who lived with parents who hated drugs, and were anti-drugs themselves, now think cannabis is more acceptable and the stigma surrounding it is unjustified. Many drew attention to the fact that alcohol is likely to impact you more negatively in the short-term and is as expensive to buy, with one respondent saying: “Getting high at home with some friends and eating too many Doritos is nowhere near as dangerous as being blind drunk on Prince of Wales at 4am”.
One person commented that coming to university and trying drugs lifted the “darkness of the unknown” – they believe information given about drugs is misleading. One repsondent wrote: “The prohibition tends to make more people believe they are terrible, but in moderation they can be enjoyable breaks”.
53% of respondents had taken MDMA or ecstasy
Some of those who tried harder drugs including ketamine and MDMA said that although they experienced negative effects while on the drug (one respondent said they felt like they were “stuck inside a 1990s Windows PC with Paddy Considine.” Right.), they wouldn’t be adverse to trying it again.
The results for those who hadn’t tried drugs were hugely different. Concerning how illegal drugs had changed relationships, many described how they saw a different person while the friend was using drugs, such as becoming “paranoid” or “anxious”.
Interestingly, it often was the illegal status of drugs that seemed to put people off, not the potential health risks: “They’re illegal and alcohol is bad enough!”
The survey seems to highlight the difference in attitudes towards drugs depending on experience. Those who had little or none were largely very negative towards drugs, but those who had more (and even those who were anti-drugs before experimenting) spoke about the exaggerated risks associated. One answer neatly summed this up: “Attitudes towards drugs are not well informed if established without having experienced those drugs. By and large, however, experiencing the drug alleviates much of the fear of the unknown”.
Concrete neither condones or condemns drug use. We promote a safe and reasonable attitude towards consumption of alcohol and encourage a reasonable attitude towards drug use. If you need any more advice, Talk to Frank.