Medical Practice

Drug Taking among Medical Students at Glasgow University

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 03 March 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:540
  1. A. J. McKay,
  2. V. M. Hawthorne,
  3. H. N. McCartney


    A survey of medical students was conducted at Glasgow University during two successive academic sessions. In 1971, out of 786 students matriculating in the first to fourth years, 749 present at lectures (95·3%) returned properly completed questionnaires. These showed that 100 (13%) had at one time or another taken drugs and that 27 (3·6%) had continued to do so. In 1972, out of 604 students matriculating in the first, second, and fifth years 487 (80·6%) returned questionnaires indicating that 79 (16%) had taken drugs at least once and that 19 (3·9%) had continued.

    Marijuana and hashish were by far the most commonly used drugs, the use of “harder” drugs being limited. About half of the students acknowledged the regular use of alcohol, and approximately a fifth were regular tobacco smokers. Those who took drugs were predominantly males who tended to smoke and drink more than other students. They also came from homes where the parents no longer lived together and tended to live away from home more than the other students. Exposure to drugs increased between 1971 and 1972, but the number accepting drugs did not. Appraisal of this problem is needed, since though still small it has the potential for rapid growth.

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