Photo: Flickr / Nikos Koutoulas

Ready for the drop

Drugs at Warwick: all it’s cracked up to be? Henrietta Bennett investigates.

While the drug scene in Warwick isn’t as dedicated as London and Manchester, illegal substances undeniably play a prominent role in university life.

There are different levels of drug takers in Warwick. Just as you could work for a month on an essay and cram a module into a week before an exam, drug users in Warwick often take varied approach to ‘partying’ where the drug culture is often inconsistent and sparse over months. Going out in Leamington you can find yourself on several nights out with sweaty revellers and drunken photos on the Neon dancefloor without ever encountering an illegal substance.

However, you can just as easily find yourself amongst wide-eyed, clammy-handed and sleep-deprived students.

While some students are only occasional drug users, the night life at university can greatly affect both your exposure to, and the pressure to take, drugs.

There are some clubs (that do not need to be named) where everyone can have a good time. The top ten radio hits are on, girls are dressed to impress and guys’ eyes are prowling the dance floor. There will probably be a fight, at least one major fall and a genuine distaste for one bouncer or another. While the negative implications of many party drugs are obvious, it is at these please-all events that drink becomes your demon. I have never been offered drugs in these clubs and the pressure is (to my knowledge) non-existent. When you are drunk you want to sing along and allow the music not to overpower the night, but to be a backing track for your ever-occurring adventures.

Other clubs that also do not need to be named harness these pressures to be seen as cool or different and it is often here that the drug culture truly flourishes in Warwick.

The night-life at university can greatly affect both your exposure to, and the pressure to take, drugs

On a club night where drugs are enforced there is a different vibe. Wide eyes scan the dance floor for someone to say ‘I love you so much’ to. There will be a person in a trance in the corner staring at lights with a slow fist pump and to some this is unsettling. It is easy to feel uncomfortable around people on drugs when you see zombies being created out of usually loud and lary drunks.

However dehumanising the drugs seem to be, when you step back and ignore this factor these places can be seen in a different light. It is due to the stereotypes of what a high is and what doing drugs implies about you as a person that creates a dingy environment. I have never seen a fight in these clubs, never even a disagreement. Idiots hugging each other and chatting for hours on end is a common occurrence, but it is often the people that do not take any substances at all that enjoy these environments most. For a non-drinker, being able to have a lengthy conversation with someone can be a breath of fresh air.

As Warwick students we are supposed to be strong willed independent learners; not only academically but socially as well.

How each individual chooses to experience university is entirely up to them, and I feel many students have their priorities under control. The odd lecture may be missed due to a lazy day in and there might be some more trips to Tesco than anticipated but it is very rare to see a sad case of drug overdose on student nights.

The level of pressure to drink alcohol is incredibly high due to our sports culture and in comparison I would not say the drug scene in Warwick demands as much. Every university has their dealers and on the whole, common sense appears to prevail over reckless and destructive hedonism.


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