Four out of ten university students say it is easy for them to access illegal substances within 24 hours if they wanted to, according to a recent survey by the Cyprus Addictions Authority.
Chairman of the agency’s board, Christos Minas, said the survey’s purpose was to assess the extent of substance use, patterns and addictive behaviours of students attending public and private higher education institutes in Cyprus.
Minas highlighted the fact that this is the first time scientific information has been gleaned for this particular demographic. A key goal, Minas stated, is to use the information to design preventive and therapeutic programmes tailored to this group.
From the survey results it appears that six out of 10 students have tried conventional or e-cigarettes and seven out of 10 consumed alcohol during the past month.
Four out of 10 students stated that it is ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ easy for them to obtain illegal substances within 24 hours.
In answer to a survey question on whether a person who uses illegal substances is more of a patient or a criminal, four out of 10 students replied ‘a patient’. Female students were more strongly of this opinion.
Acceptance of cannabis use was expressed by 28 per cent of students, a view held more strongly among males and older participants (22+).
The majority of students self-reported starting smoking cigarettes at ages 16-17, while 4.5 per cent said they started before the age of 14. In addition, three in 10 reported having tried marijuana or hashish.
A small percentage (2.5) reported smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day.
Of the smokers, 16 per cent said they wish to stop, while 9.2 per cent said they have already quit.
Younger students (aged 17-24) are more likely to prefer e-cigarettes compared with those aged 25 and over.
The survey, in which 2,882 male and female students participated, was organised by Insights Market Research (IMR) and the University of Nicosia in 2021, using a random island-wide sampling method.