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Home > Patterns of substance use among young people attending colleges of further education in Northern Ireland.

McCrystal, Patrick and Percy, Andrew (2010) Patterns of substance use among young people attending colleges of further education in Northern Ireland. Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy , 18 , (1) , pp. 69-76.

Aims: Substance use and misuse amongst young people attending colleges of further education (FE) has received little attention in the drug use literature in the UK. This article aims to explore the patterns of drug use amongst young people attending colleges of further education in Northern Ireland.

Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of drug use was undertaken in two FE colleges in Northern Ireland. A sample of young people of the same age who were attending school also completed the questionnaire. This provided a school-based comparison group for the FE sample.

Findings: The levels of educational achievement measured by performance at General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations prior to entry to FE college was the strongest predictor of substance misuse amongst the FE sample young people who performed better in these examinations were less likely to misuse drugs.

Conclusions: School-based educational achievement prior to attending college is a key predictor of drug misuse amongst young people attending FE colleges.


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