Drug Culture: Irish Students Best Kept Secret?


It’s no secret that Student’s love to party, and in that department Irish students fall into a category of their own. But what really keeps students going until the twilight hours?

As I myself have been a college student in Dublin for four years now, I’ve noticed that there is a fairly large drug culture revolving around Irish students. It doesn’t just stop at students smoking a few joints at home, it’s seemingly moved into much harder territory.

Out of the 50 college student’s that took part in my anonymous survey, the numbers seem to support this. With 37 out of the 50 having either tried cocaine, ecstasy, or MDMA . With the number of students who have smoked cannabis rounding out at 45 out of 50.

It seems no matter where I find myself on a night they’re prevalent. Whether it be students walking around listening to house music in a warehouse, eyes saucer-sized, or the unmistakeable sound of someone who appears to have quite the “cold” while in the toilet cubicles. It’s everywhere.

As I’ve gotten older, or perhaps more aware, I began to notice it more and more. I started to wonder to myself just how often are my peers using hard drugs?

In my survey, I asked just that, and when they did what were they taking. Out of the 37 who had admitted to trying harder drugs, 10 confessed to it being a weekly occurrence. With 17 saying they’d take drugs on average once a month and the remaining 10  saying they’ve only taken them sporadically.

Cannabis smokings numbers were different. Out of the 45 who had smoked it before, 15 say it’s a common weekly thing. Those of it who found it common, however, said that they could smoke up to four or five nights a week.

I talked to one student user about it, who understandably wishes to stay anonymous, and we discussed the current state of affairs. My first question I asked was why they thought it’s so popular amongst students?

“I think there a lot of factors to take into account. Firstly I think most students have begun to get sick of just drinking, because it’s something the majority of us have been doing heavily since we were 16-17. It starts getting a bit repetitive after a few years. The next factor, which is probably bigger than the first one, is for the first time in their lives students find themselves completely free, with no one to answer to.  They don’t have to go home and explain to their parents how the night was the next day, they go back to their own apartment in their own bed, so they can play by their own rules.”

I guess it makes sense when you look at it that way, college is all about finding yourself and experiencing new things, this isn’t limited to daytime activities. It’s that four or five-year gap in between secondary school and beginning to work as an adult where you get to do whatever you want, as long as you continue to pass college.

It doesn’t just stop at boredom and freedom though, claims the student. There comes a financial and practical standpoint to it as well.

“The one thing that got me taking them was how cheap they are. A night out in Dublin is incredibly expensive, between paying for taxis, nightclub entry, and drink it’s not sustainable. You’re talking at least 50 euro minimum and that’s taking it handy enough. With pills though, I can go out with twenty quid in my pocket and have the best night ever.”


They went on to tell me that you can find an ecstasy tablet for as cheap as seven euro if you know where to look. Cheaper again if you have a friend who sells them. They can even be accessed from the city’s Rickshaw drivers.

In my survey, every single student who took part said they have been in the company of someone on hard drugs. With 42 of them saying that they have been offered hard drugs directly.

So what does this mean for Irish college students? With the numbers as high as they are it seems this is a massive part of the culture of being a student. But what are the implications?

Is it just another form of college rebellion and escapism from the monotony of everyday life, something done to “widen our horizons?”. Or is this our generations alcohol?[polldaddy poll=9717721]

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