Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Young People in Cumbria 2008

Young People in CumbriaEarlier today I saw a story about young people and alcohol in Cumbria which said there was a survey of 2,000 young people.

Being a resourseful sort of fellow I followed up with Healthy Schools in Cumbria and within minutes have been sent their findings.

Looking at the data it’s clear the findings are from work they have done with the SHEU; and as a result are much wider than alcohol.   But I’ll stick to the findings that are around drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Findings for children in Year 6

Drugs

  • 57% of pupils reported that their parents had talked to them about drugs while 70% said their teachers had.
  • 20% say they are ‘fairly sure’ or ‘certain’ they know a user of drugs (not medicines).
  • 2% of pupils said they had been offered cannabis.
  • 1% said they had been offered other drugs.

Alcohol

  • 12% of the primary school sample had at least one alcoholic drink (more than a sip) in the last week.
  • Greater proportions of the drinkers in Year 6 were boys.
  • 4% of pupils reported that they did sometimes drink alcohol without their parents knowing.
  • The most popular drinks were beer, pre-mixed spirits, alcopops and wine.

Tobacco

  • 3% of pupils reported that they had tried smoking once or twice.
  • Less than 1% of Year 6 pupils said they had smoked at least one cigarette during the last 7 days.
  • 89% said they wouldn’t smoke when older, 9% said maybe and 2% think they will smoke when they are older

Findings for young people in Year 8 and Year 10

Drugs

  • 39% of pupils are ‘fairly sure’ or ‘certain’ that they know someone who takes drugs.
  • 35% of Year 10 boys and 31% of Year 10 girls have been offered cannabis.
  • When asked if they had ever taken an illegal drug, 23% of year 10 pupils reported that they had. 13% had taken one in the last month.
  • 14% of Year 10 pupils have taken an illegal drug and alcohol on the same occasion.
  • 5% of Year 10 pupils said they had taken more than one type of drug on the same occasion.

Alcohol

  • 34% of pupils had at least one alcoholic drink in the week before the survey.
  • Boys: 10% of Year 8 boys and 26% of Year 10 boys drank between 4 and 20 units of alcohol in the seven days before the survey.
  • Girls: 6% of Year 8 girls and 25% of Year 10 girls drank between 4 and 20 units of alcohol in the seven days before the survey.
  • 12% of Year 10 boys and 7% of Year 10 girls said they drank 21 or more units of alcohol in the seven days before the survey.
  • 8% of Year 10 boys and 10% of Year 10 girls were able to buy alcohol from an off-licence that should sell only to overeighteen’s.
  • Pre-mixed spirits, beer, cider and spirits were the most popular drinks.

Tobacco

  • 41% of pupils reported that there is someone who smokes indoors in their home most days.
  • Boys: 4% of Year 8 boys and 13% of Year 10 boys reported that they smoke occasionally or regularly.
  • Girls: 5% of Year 8 girls and 19% of Year 10 girls reported that they smoke occasionally or regularly.
  • The greater percentage of female smokers in Year 10 is also reflected in the reference sample.

Trends

This survey has been carried out in Cumbria on a number of occasions since 1988 which means they are able to analyse some trends.  The headlines of which are:

The proportion of pupils who reported knowing a drug user rose between 1990 and 1995. Since 2006 there has been a decrease in all groups except Year 8 males which has this year risen to the level found in 2003.

The proportion of Year 8 pupils having at least one alcoholic drink in the week before the survey has decreased over the period 1988 to 2008. Drinking among Year 10 pupils appears generally lower than previous years. Untypically there was no difference in drinking patterns of girls and boys in Year 10 .

Also remaining fairly stable was the proportion of pupils who smoked at least one cigarette in the week before the survey. There was a peak in 1995 and a significant rise in smoking levels among Year 10 girls in the 2003 data, but we now see a reduction in all levels apart from Year 8 males.

There is a much more detailed paper which analyses trends and compares these findings to other areas from which the SHEU have data, and I’m sure the Healthy Schools team would be happy to share if you’re interested.

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Filed under: SHEU

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