With Freshers’ Week long gone and introductory lectures a thing of the past, it’s time to settle down, shake off that freshers’ flu and get stuck into university life. Universities can be hubs for drug culture, from copious amounts of caffeine to clubbers’ favourite, MDMA.  University is also where many are exposed to illegal drugs for the first time, and this can be daunting, especially when everyone seems to be doing it. These kinds of ‘hard-core’ drugs will always have a bad reputation, but the real trouble arises when users don’t really know what it is they’re taking.

Whilst we don’t promote drug use, we will give you an impartial guide as you wade your way through the maze of recreational drugs.




Source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/hexenesi/

Why do people use it?

Often a drug that transforms into a habit once you are young, people use it when for a variety reasons. Stress, calming, taste or normally just for something to do

How do you do you take it?

Er Smoking

What are the risks?

We’re all well aware of the health risks by now: lung cancer, heart diseases, infertility, yellowing teeth. Expensive and a health risk, once you start, smoking is definitely a habit which is difficult to kick.


Students on Smoking

“Not a smoker but usually socially on nights. I am aware this is a destructive habit and not a sustainable one. Cancer is bad.”

“Not worth it if you’ve never done it before.”

“It starts as I only smoke when I’m drunk, to smoking a lot when drunk to eventually smoking sober or even drinking just to have a smoke”


NOS (Laughing Gas)

Empty NOS Canisters

Source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/promocymru/

Why people take it?

Nitrous Oxide or Laughing Gas is a popular party drug usually consumed via a balloon. It has a very intense, short high, leaving the user in fits of giggles.

How do you take it? 

Nearly always through a balloon because many of the other forms of consumption are less controlled and therefore more dangerous

What are the risks?

Although technically legal, it’s not without its dodgy side effects; the most dangerous being a lack of oxygen. Because it involves repeatedly breathing in and out of the balloon, the user can become oxygen deprived. Although there are numerous stories of people dying from over consumption, this usually only occurs when people take it too far like putting it in a bag over your head or in small confined spaces

Students on NOS: 

“Did it once at a friend’s and it just made everything move and I felt fucking amazing. Because it doesn’t last so long, you do more but I’ve never felt a comedown from it”

“Everything becomes quite spaced out and it’s such a strong high”

“Stupid and unbelievably dangerous for such a short high”




Source - https://www.flickr.com/photos/100651935@N07/

Source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/100651935@N07/

Why do people take it?

Often referred to as”the gateway drug,” cannabis, also referred to as “marijuana” and “weed,”  is often the first illegal drug people try and users love it for its relaxing effects. Many people have been advocating for its legalisation, suggesting it can even be good for you, despite the well-known side effects.

How do you take it? 

It’s usually smoked but can also be used in food (space cakes anyone?)

What are the risks?

Usage can cause anxiety, paranoia and “getting the munchies,” (cue many midnight fridge raids,) and if large amounts of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) is consumed, it can also cause hallucinations. Taken in combination with alcohol, it can also cause you to “whitey or throw up and pass out, and urban myths such as “weed before beer, in the clear,” suggests that the two together should be actively avoided.

There is also growing evidence that people with serious mental health problems, including depression and psychosis, are more likely to have used cannabis for long periods in the past.

Students on Marijuana

“Can’t smoke because schizophrenia is a problem in my family and I don’t want to risk it”

“I swear weed is getting stronger or I’m just getting older.”

“It doesn’t give you a hangover but you can definitely feel groggier the next day, it feels like you have to trade in a lot of time to use it and can end up losing sleep”



Source - https://www.rehabclinic.org.uk/wp-content/gallery/drugs/ketamine.jpg

Source – https://www.rehabclinic.org.uk/wp-content/gallery/drugs/ketamine.jpg

Why do people take it? 

It can make you feel very chilled out and relaxed. Some users also enjoy “tripping” or going into the “K-Hole,” which can make you feel completely detached from your surroundings and is linked to a near death experience.

How do you take it? 

It can be swallowed in tablet form, snorted, or injected as a liquid. Injecting is very risky because of the risk of HIV or hepatitis c.

What are the risks? 

Ketamine is an anaesthetic, so you may seriously hurt yourself without even knowing it. Ketamine usage can also damage the liver and the bladder, and in extreme cases, the latter has to be removed.

How popular is Ketamine with students? 

In a survey conducted by The Tab, 25% of students reported using Ketamine.


Students on Ketamine: 

“I had a friend who ruined her bladder using ket and not cant hold a pee for more than 5 minutes”

“I like it, it lets me relax and it’s usually a cool experience”




MDMA (Ecstasy)

Source - https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanj/

Source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanj/

Why do people take it? 

The original party drug, clubbers take it to stay energised and party until the wee hours. It can give users an intense feeling of euphoria and alertness, which is usually intensified by loud music and disco lights. It also gives people temporary feelings of love and affection, sometimes to complete strangers. People usually take it on specific nights where lots of people will be “dropping” or where the music/vibe of the night is right.

How do you take it? 

Usually swallowed in tablet form or crushed into a powder and smoked or snorted. MDMA powder can also be ‘bombed’ (wrapped in tissue paper and swallowed)  or dabbed onto the gums.

What are the risks? 

It can cause users to “gurn,”that is, relentlessly grinding their teeth together. This is why you will often see users with a lollipop or chewing gum. “Bad trips” whilst on the drug can also cause feelings of panic and anxiety. It can also cause extreme dehydration, as well as liver, kidney and heart problems in the long run. The comedown is also pretty horrible. You can feel empty and depressed the next day as the drug drains all your serotonin. Expect to trade in two days of happiness, for one night with Molly.



Students on MDMA: 


“I spent the next day in bed crying to Mulan”

“The come up is amazing and you feel on top of the world, but I find you barely remember the night afterward and you feel low and soulless for a day or two whilst you wait for your shredded gums to heal.”

“It didn’t affect me much but I was up until 7 and felt awful the next day.”



source - https://www.flickr.com/photos/valeriebb/

source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/valeriebb/

Why do people take it?

I want to start this section with my favourite quote I heard while researching this article: “Coke is really great at making you want to do more coke.”

From what I found out this seemed to be agreed on everywhere. The coke high is hard to pinpoint, you feel good, confident and alert but many people feel like they are missing a huge come-up. This and cokes short high (20-30 minutes if snorted) is what makes it so dangerous. I’ve heard people start the night saying “We will just do one bag” and seen them on hour later with a new one.

How do you take it?

Although it can be taken in other ways, nearly always snorted as a powder.

What are the risks?

The list of health risks behind coke is long and contains the obvious nose issues snorting it for long periods of time can cause. It can also cause heart issues and even trigger heart attacks in people with high blood pressure. Its addictiveness can often lead users to try even heavier drugs to try and dampen their cravings and like weed it can bring out previous mental illnesses.

Students on Coke

“It’s great at draining your wallet””Scared me sh*tless, you feel good until you don’t then I thought I was gonna die and went to

“Scared me sh*tless, you feel good until you don’t then I thought I was gonna die and went to hospital where some amazing people had to sort me out after my stupid mistake.”

“Got very addicted to it earlier this year and I was doing it all day everyday. Makes you feel more alert and you can keep your concentration for long periods of time (like Ritalin which is why a lot of Coke is cut with Ritalin) if you occasionally take it you don’t really get a comedown but if you take it for weeks with no break you feel like you’re dying and turning into a psychotic mess”

“You can find yourself awake at 5am and you suddenly realise you aren’t high you’re just awake”


Magic Mushrooms

Source - https://www.flickr.com/photos/essen_auf_raedern_leo/

Source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/essen_auf_raedern_leo/


Why do people take it?

While hallucinogens are not used that much by students they are used enough to make it into this article. Interestingly people don’t tend to take them on a night out but they are more likely to make an event out of it. The hallucinogenic properties are what draws people to this drug. Colours, time and the world around the user becomes very distorted and dreamlike.

How do you take them?

Normally eaten like normal mushrooms but can be boiled and drank in some cases

What are the risks?

Users can get flashbacks for weeks or months afterwards and while physically it doesn’t have many health risks other than diarrhoea and stomach pains (as it is a poison) it can leave a mental mark. You often hear that “the brain never works the same way again” after taking them and there is evidence to back this up. Unlike other drugs the come down is often described as an “afterglow” and doesn’t feel anything like the comedowns from things such as MDMA or Cocaine.

Students on Magic Mushrooms

“I only tried it once and in a cliche way it made me think differently”

“I would never do it without someone there to look after me”

“I remember looking down and my legs weren’t there, it was completely insane but I really enjoyed the experience”



Source - https://www.flickr.com/photos/64092100@N02/

Source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/64092100@N02/

Why do people use it?

LSD or Acid is the last drug on this list for a good reason. It is so potent that it is measured out in micro-grams and a typical dose is 100 micro-grams. Acid trips can last anywhere from 8 to 12 hours and it has a similar effect to Magic Mushrooms though users of both told me how different the two trips were.

How do you take it?

It is most commonly found on small ‘tabs’ of paper that have LSD fused into them to help control the dosage.

What are the risks?

LSD is a dangerous drug due to the length of the trip and the intensity. Other than hurting yourself while tripping it can also trigger mental illnesses and leave you feeling completely different afterwards. They said the drug took them very deep into their own mind and made them think about some issues in a different way. As with shrooms you have no way to know whether you will have a bad trip or not until you start and when the trip lasts 8 hours and your sense of time is distorted its definitely not something to get into lightly.


Students on LSD

“feels nothing like what it’s made out to feel like. Possibly one of the most calming drugs I’ve done. Changed your perception on everything and makes you feel at ease even in negative situations. You get what’s called an afterglow when it wears off and you feel really good about yourself but a little tired”

“Shrooms and acid are totally different trips, the visuals, the way you feel and even the comedown are all unique”

“If you’re going to take it make sure you know what your getting yourself into and have someone there to watch you, it’s not a drug to mess around with. You need to respect it”


If you want to find out more about drugs feel free to click the links below or talk to us and we can get you in contact with the right people. And remember, if you’re going to take drugs, just know what you’re getting yourself into!