Decline in teenage drug use in the UK

June 01, 2000

Drug use has declined among teenagers in the United Kingdom [Letter]

Since 1995, drug use among UK teenagers has undergone significant decline, according to a letter in this week's BMJ.

Researchers at the Alcohol and Health Research Centre, City Hospital, Edinburgh questioned 15 and 16 year old students attending state and private schools across the UK. The results were compared to a similar survey conducted in 1995.

Girls showed a significant reduction in their use of illicit drugs. (33 per cent compared to almost 40 per cent in 1995). These included cannabis, solvents, amphetamines and ecstasy. Boys also showed similar declines (39.5 per cent compared to 45 per cent in 1995) including a significant fall in the use of crack cocaine. The only exception to this trend was heroin - although its use remains rare, say the authors, it had risen in both sexes.

There were some regional differences. For instance, students in Scotland were more likely to have used cannabis and amphetamines and, in Northern Ireland, students reported the greatest use of glues and solvents. Although these results may be temporary, they are striking, conclude the authors.
-end-
Contact: Martin Plant, director and Patrick Miller, Senior Research Fellow, Alcohol and Health Research Centre, City Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5SB. Email: mplant.ahrc@onet.co.uk

BMJ

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