According to a poll conducted by The University Times, over half of Trinity students said that they have tried illegal drugs at least once in the last year, and 30% said at least between one and three times in the last three months. Cannabis was by far the drug of choice, with 52.2% trying it compared with 44.2% who have abstained from drugs in that period. The survey showed that of those who tried drugs excluding cannabis, 92.2% also tried cannabis. However, of those who tried cannabis, 26.7% was the highest percentage of anything else tried (both ecstasy and mephedrone).
The next highest registered drug taken in that period is mephedrone at 15.2%, despite it not being illegal until last summer. Students said that they are less likely to try illegal drugs when faced with the possibility of criminal charges, with 41.8% agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement. However, 56.7% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that they are more likely to try a drug if it is legal, and only 29.6% agreed or strongly agreed.
The survey comes at a point when the country is still reacting to the addition of several substances to the Misuse of Drugs act of 1977, including cannabinoids, BZP and mephedrone, which are supposed to imitate the effects of cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine respectively. Their possession and supply are subject to criminal sanction of up to 7 years imprisonment and/or a fine for unlawful possession, and on indictment, up to a maximum period of life imprisonment for unlawful supply. It is still possible to order mephedrone over the internet however, and mephedrone has joined more traditional drugs as a major contributor to Ireland’s underground economy. The Psychotropic Substances Bill which has yet to be enacted, would make it illegal to sell pipes and water-pipes used for consuming psychoactive drugs, and make it illegal to sell objects used to cultivate drugs by hydroponic means, allowing penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of €5,000 upon conviction.
Trinity students who wish to indulge themselves in a legal capacity abroad are having their most obvious option taken away as the Dutch government will be introducing a new law whereby only card-carrying Dutch citizens will be able to purchase soft-drugs in the country’s notorious cafés, in an effort to curb drug tourism. However, the expected passing of Proposition 19 in California, which will be voted on between this issue of the University Times and the next, will likely see a surge in J1’s to the golden state. The bill will allow government regulation of cannabis related activities and cannabis related tax collection.
Closer to home, the Liberal Democrats of the UK had a policy paper called Honesty, Realism, Responsibility where they called for re-classifiying cannabis and cannabis derivatives as Class C drugs, re-classifying ecstasy from Class A to Class B, and ending imprisonment as a punishment for possession for own use of any Class B or Class C drug. That they will do that now they are in a coalition government with the conservative party is unlikely. The University Times survey shows though, that with an expectant election looming, drug legislation will be a major issue for student voters.
This article appeared in Volume , Issue of The University Times.
Thursday, 21st October, 2010
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.