Home > Adolescent drug use in the North Eastern Health Board, 1997.

North Eastern Health Board. (1999) Adolescent drug use in the North Eastern Health Board, 1997. Navan: North Eastern Health Board.

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This report presents the findings of both quantitative and qualitative research into adolescent drug misuse in the North Eastern Health Board area. A confidential questionnaire was randomly administered to 1,516 adolescents, aged between 13 and 19 years, from 21 schools in the four counties of the North Eastern Health Board area. The results of the research showed high smoking and alcohol rates, especially when compared to national figures. Regular smoking prevalence rates were substantially higher in the Board's area compared to 1993 national rates for both male and female adolescents. Regular consumption of alcohol (i.e. one or more drinks per week) varied from 26% at age 13 years, to 81% at age 17 years and 57% overall.

In relation to illicit drug use, more than 92% of adolescents in the study claimed that they had never used drugs. Where substances had been misused, solvents and cannabis were the most common. Qualitative research was also carried out. Focus groups were held, including young people of both sexes, aged between 13 and 19 years, from a variety of social, geographical, and educational backgrounds. Seven in-depth interviews were conducted with young people who were still abusing or had abused drugs in the past.

The study found that the most commonly-cited reasons for drug use were boredom, personal problems almost always involving family problems, experimentation, enjoyment and sociability, and peer influence. Principal barriers to initial use were identified as fear and parents. Positive peer association was also found to act as a barrier to initial use. Recommendations were sought from young drug users or ex-users on the expansion and improvement of drug education and health promotion initiatives. Proposals included the provision of more amenities for young people, for example drop-in social centres run by young people under the mentorship of adults, and the involvement of young people in advertising health promotion schemes. It was also recommended that a holistic approach to drugs education in primary school be devised, and that harm reduction measures be promoted. Respondents were generally found to be of the opinion that alcohol abuse was a bigger problem than drug abuse, and that it should be addressed more urgently.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
iii, 6
North Eastern Health Board
Corporate Creators
North Eastern Health Board
Place of Publication
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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