Ecstasy use among Students at an all-time high

A a 22-year-old student remains critically ill in hospital after suspected ecstasy consumption

Gardaí fear that ecstasy use among second and third level students has reached an all-time high.

Last week, a 22-year-old college student was left in critical condition in Sligo University Hospital following a night out involving suspected ecstasy taking, according to

As well as third level students, second level students are also a cause for concern regarding drug taking, with a particular emphasis on ecstasy.

According to, 51 per cent of those in the age bracket of 18-29 have tried illicit drugs at some point.

Gardaí have recently carried out searches which included searching student’s lockers in local secondary schools in Sligo.

It was published recently that the use of psychoactive drugs in Ireland among 15-24 year-olds is the highest in Europe, according to the 2017 Drug information campaign by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

The campaign is aimed at students who use new psychoactive substances (NPS) and focuses on harm reduction messaging.

New psychoactive substances include synthetic cannabinoids and mephedrone, which are commonly marketed as “legal highs”, “research chemicals” and “bath salts”.

The substances are said to have similar effects to ecstasy and cocaine, according to the USI.

Data in the latest phase of the campaign, which is sponsored by and the Health Service Executive (HSE), suggests that the purity of most illicit substances is increasing.

It also suggests that the market for such substances is becoming wider and more easily accessible by young adults and students in Ireland.

USI President, Annie Hoey, said that “USI are delighted to continue working with the HSE and on this harm reduction campaign. We have been working hard this year to provide information to students and our Unions to highlight the effects associated with NPS misuse.”

“The harm reduction messages in this campaign are paramount: ultimately to reduce harm and to ensure that people who choose to take NPS are aware of the importance of testing in small doses, taking NPS in safe controlled environments, and taking time out between sessions,” she said.

Shirley Donlon