My first article published on the Huffington Post, titled 'The Rise in Plymouth's Drug Scene' has seen a wealth of responses, both positive and negative. I've received hate mail, love letters and a plethora of other comments to an otherwise small article.
'I can't believe the SU haven't said shit about it,' say Chris*, 'they've given me free condoms, chlamydia tests and I wouldn't be surprised if I get a free vibrator the way they treat sex but nothing about drugs. I do more drugs than I have sex.'
This is one of the main responses I've received. You're more likely to have unprotected sex under the influence of drugs, so surely this should fit in perfectly with all of the free condom and sex advice programmes that most universities adopt?
This increase in drug use amongst students has been seen all over the UK, with Tab polls stating that 71% of students in 2012 admitted to trying to drugs. That means that the person sitting next to you in lectures is more likely to have done drugs than not.
What shocked me the most was the outright denial of some people, stating bluntly that this NEVER goes on their city.
I was hoping that my article might prompt the student union to take into account that their students are experimenting with drugs and this is something that should be addressed. Taking a 'zero-tolerance' attitude to drugs is dated and won't work in the current social climate, but looking into other issues associated is a good place to start.
It happens in every city. My other main reference is Swansea. Through bar work and socialising, it seems to me that trends drugs come in waves. The two most common drugs to one day be everywhere then disappearing for a few months are ketamine and MDMA.
This is also happening in Plymouth. It only took until half way through my first term in university to see a young, strong male student in the peak of physical fitness, faceplant the pavement after consuming far too much MDMA for his body to control.
Surely this sort of issue SHOULD be addressed?
With popular new documentaries surfacing every day on the developing drug scene in the world, this is obviously not something that's going to disappear. Just ask the likes of Vice or Stacey Dooley.
I have decided to dedicate this amazing opportunity I've been given by the Huffington Post, to documenting my research into the strange world of illegal substances we're now living in. I also hope to dedicate my university dissertation to the topic, so anyone that would like to help me or get involved, please get in touch.
My personal opinion on drug consumption will not be addressed in any of my work but I would be more than happy to answer any questions on the topic via my Twitter account or email address.