Alcohol and drug use in second-year medical students at the University of Leeds

Med Educ. 2000 Feb;34(2):148-50. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2000.00491.x.


Objective: In view of recent media attention concerning the high level of alcohol and drug use reported in a group of newly qualified junior doctors, the aim of the present study was to assess the alcohol and drug habits of a group of current medical students.

Methods: Information about alcohol and illicit drug use was obtained from 136 second-year medical students (46 men, 90 women) at the University of Leeds by means of a personally administered questionnaire. Levels of anxiety and depression were also assessed.

Results: 86% of the students drank alcohol and among those who drank, a high proportion (52.6% of the men and 50.6% of the women), exceeded the recommended weekly limit of alcohol consumption of 21 units for men and 14 units women per week). Illicit drug use was reported by 33.1% of students (28.3% of men, 35.6% of women). The drug most commonly used was cannabis. According to the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scale, 41.2% of the students (37% of men, 43.3% of women) had anxiety ratings within the clinically significant range (HAD scale> 8); 9.5% of students demonstrated clinically significant levels of depression (HAD scale> 8). However, these high levels of anxiety and depression did not correlate with high levels of alcohol consumption or drug use.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / trends
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*