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Survey suggests fewer teens are using illegal drugs

27th July 2012

Teenagers across England appear to be leading a cleaner lifestyle.

A survey of 6,500 children aged 11-15 revealed that over the past decade the numbers taking drugs, smoking and drinking alcohol had all fallen.

Data from the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre figures found 17% had tried drugs at least once in 2011, compared with 29% in 2001.

The survey is conducted every year to monitor use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes and focuses on a selection of secondary school pupils, with the latest carried out between September and December.

It found that among 15-year-olds who had tried drugs, the number fell from 39% in 2001 to 23% in 2011 and the figure for children aged 11 was only 3%.

The number of teen smokers was the lowest since the survey began in 1982 with 5% saying they smoked at least one cigarette a week compared with 10% in 2001.

Those drinking alcohol at least once dropped to 45%, from 61% in 2001.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre, said: “The report shows that pupils appear to be leading an increasingly clean-living lifestyle and are less likely to take drugs as well as cigarettes and alcohol.

“All this material will be of immense interest to those who work with young people and aim to steer them towards a healthier way of life.”

The charity Drinkaware said the report was good news but warned there were still 360,000 young people who reported drinking alcohol in the last week alone.

 

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