Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

What do young people think about drink and drugs?

Drink and Drug News looks at a research project which asked young people about their attitudes to drugs and alcohol:

The majority of nine to 12 year olds thought that it was wrong to use any illegal drugs and had a good knowledge of the negative impacts of drug use. Although 13 to 18 year olds also had extensive knowledge of the negative impacts of using drugs, benefits of drug use were also widely recognised.

There was an element of uncertainty among some young people about the negative impacts of drugs. Findings suggested that they have more negative perceptions of drugs than alcohol, and hold the view that drugs can have a more damaging effect on various aspects of life.

The research appears to have led to a number of recommendations:

More generally, young people had their own suggestions to improve service delivery including drug education in school presented in a context that young people can relate to; education for parents; drug awareness advertising; and increased and improved diversionary activities.

The research studies presented some evidence to prompt a number of recommendations. For those in the younger age groups who like to find out information from teachers, there is a need nationally to ensure that teachers have access to appropriate resources in schools to educate young people. Given that parents were also considered a useful source of information for drugs and alcohol, it is important that parents are trained so that they have the knowledge and awareness of drug and alcohol issues to correctly inform young people.

With age, young people tend to lean towards their peers for guidance and advice and there are no guarantees that the advice provided by peers is correct or accurate. Peer-led approaches aim to use the interaction between peers to promote heath-related behaviours and reduce drug use.

Some young people were unclear about services available to them locally and nationally; this often has probable links to the location of services, which are mostly city based. There may be opportunities to include young people in the redesign and remarketing of services to ensure that they find them accessible.

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Filed under: drug education

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