Alcohol use, drug use, and sexual activity among pharmacy students at three institutions

J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash). Sep-Oct 1998;38(5):609-13. doi: 10.1016/s1086-5802(16)30375-8.


Objective: To determine alcohol and drug use and sexual activity among pharmacy students at three colleges of pharmacy.

Design and setting: A survey to obtain self-reported information on alcohol and drug use, and sexual activity was administered to professional pharmacy students at the University of Iowa (UI), Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, and Texas Southern University.

Main outcome measures: Information on sexual activity and condom use, alcohol and drug consumption, and the effect of alcohol on unintended sexual activity.

Results: 848 students (50% response rate) completed the survey. Alcohol use was high at all three institutions, and most students had consumed five or more drinks on one or more occasions within the last three months. The extent of drug use among pharmacy students was similar to that reported in other college students. The majority of students were sexually active. More men than women reported having been sexually active with one or more partners. Most students reported having had sexual intercourse without a condom. Significant numbers of students had engaged in unintended sex after alcohol use, especially at UI (chi 2 = 12.6, p = 0.002). Sexual contact and drinking were strongly correlated (Pearson r = 0.31, p = 0.0001).

Conclusion: Alcohol consumption among pharmacy students was high. Heavy drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion) was associated with unintended sexual contact. Given low condom use and increased sexual contact, pharmacy students are at an increased risk for HIV infection. Strategies should be developed to reduce alcohol intake and unprotected sexual activity among pharmacy students.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students, Pharmacy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires