A desire to experience an altered state of consciousness has been a feature of human culture from time immemorial. In the search for mood- and mind-altering substances, humankind has long experimented and taken risks.
Perhaps more than ever before, we are surrounded by legal drugs in coffee, alcohol and cigarettes, let alone in prescribed medications such as sleeping tablets, tranquillisers and opioid painkillers. Using these can be a temptingly easy way to change or control one’s mood and psychological state. Advertising and marketing may enhance the appeal of substance use. There are fashions in drug use and the use of a certain drug may be associated with a particular (and perhaps desirable) lifestyle or subculture.
It is likely that you will encounter illicit drug use either prior to or at university. It is estimated that at least 60% of students will have tried cannabis at some time or another. About 33% will experiment with other substances. In a survey o