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.