Almost half of college students and 42% of the university students have used cannabis at some time, starting at age 16 in both cases. Cannabis is the illegal drug most consumed among university students, more than five times higher than the prevalence of students who have tried stimulant and depressant drugs.
The new study carried out by carried out by 10 Spanish universities within the UniHcos project also analyzed the consumption of other substances among this population. The results showed that the group of drugs stimulating the central nervous system (cocaine, ecstasy, speed and hallucinogens) is the second most consumed among college students, with differences between men and women. In the case of male students, 8.5% of students have used one of these substances in the past, 8.3% during the last year and 7.7% during the last month; the same figures are reduced to 5.3%, 4.9% and 4.5% in the case of female students.
The next group of illegal drugs most consumed, this time without differences between men and women, is tranquilizers without a prescription, 2.6% of males have tried them, 2.2% in the last year and in the last month. In the case of girls, 2.4% have consumed these drugs at some time, 2.4% in the last year, and 2.3% in the last month.
Central nervous system depressants, which include drugs such as heroin, GHB and inhalants, are the least consumed by the university population, more among men (1.3% have ever used them, 1.3% in the last year and 1.2% in the last month) than among women (0.4% have used them once, 0.3% in the last year and 0.3% in the last month ).
Polydrug use of illegal drugs is also more frequent in men than in women. 9.6% of men have used two or more illegal substances at some time in their lives, 9.3% in the last year and 8.7% in the last month. The figures are reduced in the case of girls; 6% have ever used more than one illegal drug, 5.6% in the last year and 5.3% in the last month.
How family support affects
The study has also analyzed the relationship between family support, measured through the FAMILY APGAR questionnaire, and the consumption of illegal drugs. The results, published in the Sanitary Gazette, show that the prevalence of consumption increases as family support decreases. The authors of the article have observed higher percentages of polydrug use of illegal substances among university students who perceive their families as slightly dysfunctional (9.8%) or severely dysfunctional (12.4%) than among those who perceive support from a normal family (5.7%).
Finally, the research has also analyzed some factors related to the consumption of illegal drugs in the university population. Thus, studying and looking for work is related to the consumption of cannabis, stimulants and polydrug use in women, and only with cannabis in the case of men. It has also been observed that students who live in the family home consume less cannabis than those who live in university residences.