Scots top users

January 9, 1998

RECENT research into drug use among European teenagers revealed that Scottish levels were the highest in Europe.

Evidence from Edinburgh University suggests that this trend may continue into Scottish higher education. Alex Foulkes, vice president of the university's students' association, said a campus magazine had last year reported that some 90 per cent of Edinburgh students had tried cannabis and 50 per cent were regular users.

More recently, the students association had carried out a straw poll which found that students "tended to be very strongly in favour of relaxing the current controls on the drug." Mr Foulkes saw no reason for these attitudes to be substantially different in any other Scottish university.

Among the under-25s, he said, the use of cannabis was accepted and no longer seen as a social evil. It was "ridiculous" that students faced a criminal record for taking cannabis.

Student doctors and vets are very worried about the effects on their careers if it were found that they had indulged, he said. He admitted it was quite possible that some students were supplementing their grants by selling drugs.

"But a lot probably do it because they're doing a favour to mates. They want to get some and their friends want to get some off them."

This was confirmed by the student president of another Scottish university, who acknowledged the use of drugs by students, but said he would be surprised if many students were selling drugs principally as a means of making money.

"If anything, quite a few would be dealing so that they managed to get some for themselves," he said.

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