A Prevalence Study of Drug use by Young People in a Mixed Suburban Area


This report aims to determine the levels and patterns of drug use, including tobacco and alcohol, among young people in the Kilbarrack area. Questionnaires were sent to students from all primary and secondary schools in the target area, and were also sent to young people in the area who had already left school. The survey showed that 24% of respondents had smoked tobacco at some stage in their lives, with 25% listed as current smokers. Older students reported higher tobacco use, with over 40% of 16-18 year olds currently smoking. Alcohol was the drug most widely used by respondents, with 76% of all students having taken it at some stage in their lives. Prevalence of current alcohol use was higher in older children, with 84% of 16-18 year olds currently drinking as opposed to 61% of 13-15 year olds and 17% for 10 to 12 year olds. Cannabis was the most widely used illicit drug, with 37% of respondents using the drug at some stage. The next most widely used drug was inhalants, with 16% having used them at some stage, with 6% having used cocaine at some stage in their lives; the same proportion had used it within the last 12 months. There little or no significant evidence of heroin use. The report recommends prevention programmes that ensure that young people have other things in their lives other than alcohol/ drugs, such as a comprehensive range of properly resourced sporting and youth work in the community.

This resource was contributed by The National Documentation Centre on Drug Use.

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