There has been a long-held belief that the substance use of those who become regular users of illicit drugs marks them out as a distinctive group. However, recent evidence suggests that young people who use drugs are little different from their non-using peers. The rising trends in drug-taking among young people may have accelerated the process of normalization which began in the 1960s. This survey, carried out on a sample of 348 UK students, used a questionnaire to examine the relationships between their substance use and a range of perceptions about causes and ratings of the self. It was found that recent drug use was mainly confined to cannabis, amphetamines, Ecstasy and hallucinogens. Almost one-quarter of the participants were regular users of cannabis and/or amphetamines, the two most popular illict drugs. Subjective ratings on a range of statements about the causes of drug use and personal beliefs provided little evidence to suggest that regular users were different from the normal population of students. This conclusion was confirmed in an examination of students' answers to open-ended questions about why people take drugs and the type of advice they would give to others. These findings support the view that regular users are similar to the normal population of students both in their views about the causes of drug use or their personal and social characteristics.