14/11/2002

One in four of NI's secondary pupils have tried drugs

A report published today by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has revealed that one-in-three secondary school pupils reported having been offered drugs and one in four had tried or used an illicit drug on at least one occasion.

Authored by Robert Miller, of Queen’s University of Belfast, and Lizanne Dowds, of the University of Ulster, the report contains detailed analysis of the Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey (YPBAS) and a drugs module included in the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency Omnibus Survey.

The analysis found that of the 25% of 11 to 16 year old respondents who had tried drugs, 17% stated that they were currently using at least one drug and 7% reported using drugs "frequently". Among young adults in the 16-25 age group three out of five had been offered drugs; 37% reported using a drug at least once; 23% reported current use; and 5% frequent use.

The most commonly used illicit drugs in the secondary school sample were cannabis and solvents, though cannabis users tended to be older than solvent users. While for the young adult sample, the most commonly used drugs were cannabis and ecstasy. The study revealed that multiple drug use was relatively uncommon.

Exposure to and first use of drugs, ease of access to drugs, current use of drugs and offering drugs to others are all strongly linked with age in the secondary school sample. While just 5% of 12-year-olds had used drugs, the figure rose to 33% for 16-year-olds. The link with age is also present in the young adult sample, the amount of drug use increased through late adolescence to reach a ‘plateau’ in the early twenties.

The YPBAS took place in the autumn of 2000 and included a secondary school sample of 6,297 students aged 11-16, while the Omnibus Survey sampled 640 young adults.

Commissioned by the Department’s Drug and Alcohol Information and Research Unit on behalf of the Northern Ireland Drugs and Alcohol Campaign, the publication is available online at www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/iau/pubs.html

(SP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 April 2019
Other News In Brief
Cyclist Dies After Collapsing On Co Down Road A cyclist has died after being found collapsed on his way home from a cycle in County Down. Cookstown man Philip Corr was found on the Ballynahinch Road in Dromara on the afternoon of Saturday 06 April. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The death is not being treated as suspicious.
07 December 2017
Officers Arrested In Connection With Prescription Drugs Probe
Two police officers have been arrested as part of an investigation into a number of potential offences. The offences included theft and distribution of prescription drugs. The officers were detained by Police Ombudsman investigators on Thursday morning, 07 December. They were arrested at police stations in Co Antrim.
05 April 2019
Man, Woman & Child Threatened By Gang
A man, woman and a young infant have been threatened by a gang of masked men during an incident last night, Thursday 04 April. Five masked men entered a house in Mountjoy Street, north Belfast while armed with metal bars and a suspected firearm.
17 April 2019
Youths Admit To Causing Fire At Belfast Play Park
Two young people aged 11 and 13 have admitted to damaging equipment at Avoniel Play Park in east Belfast. The children were spoken to in the presence of their parents and admitted to being behind the incident which occurred earlier this week. They have both now been referred to the Youth Diversion Officer.
05 April 2019
Other News In Brief
Flooding Causing Delays Near Belfast Train Station A road in Belfast City Centre has been closed this afternoon due to flooding. Deep water has formed on the Laganbank Road under the railway bridge where the route runs to Lanyon Place Station.