Smoking :: Tide is turning in the fight against substance misuse amongst young people,UK

Almost half of young people aged between 11 and 15 have never had a proper alcoholic drink, six out of ten have never smoked and drug taking prevalence has dropped, according to a national school survey.

The key findings of the survey are:

In 2006, 21 per cent drank alcohol in the previous week, dropping from 26 per cent in 2001. Almost half of the young people surveyed said they had never had a proper alcoholic drink.

The survey also found that in 2006, 61 per cent of pupils said they had never smoked. The proportion who have never smoked rose from 47 per cent in 1982 to 61 per cent in 2004 and has remained at a similar level since. This means the Government has continually met the target of reducing the numbers of young smokers to nine per cent by 2010, ahead of schedule for the past three years.

Drug taking prevalence among children is down from last year with 17 per cent admitting to taking drugs in the last year, down from 19 per cent in 2005. Nine per cent had taken drugs in the last month, also lower than the proportion who had done so in 2005. (11 per cent)

Four per cent said they usually took drugs once a month or more often, a decrease from six per cent in 2005.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint has welcomed the many encouraging findings in the new survey which show inroads are being made in the fight against smoking, drug and alcohol misuse amongst young people, and has spoken of her commitment to continuing the work that still needs to be done to protect and help children.

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