Home > Cigarette, alcohol and drug use among second-level students in Waterford / Kilkenny and Kerry Garda divisions.

Ryan, William and Sarma, Kiran and Walker, Mary (2002) Cigarette, alcohol and drug use among second-level students in Waterford / Kilkenny and Kerry Garda divisions. Templemore: Garda Research Unit.

PDF (Cigarette, alcohol and drug use amongst second-level students in Waterford / Kilkenny and Kerry Garda divisions.)

This research examines the prevalence and nature of tobacco, alcohol and drug use by second-level school students in Waterford/Kilkenny and Kerry Garda Divisions.

The primary intention was to provide management with an overview of the extent of the problem in their respective divisions that could be used in the design and implementation of strategies to address the problem. Surveys were administered by members of the Garda Research Unit in March and April 2002 in 31 second-level schools. Three thousand and forty students, enrolled in either 2nd Year or 5th Year (pre-Leaving Certificate) provided valid responses, 1715 from Waterford/Kilkenny Division and the 1325 from Kerry Division.

Based on the combined sample, the picture that emerges is that approximately 24 percent of those surveyed can be considered smokers (i.e. they smoke at least once a week). Seventy seven percent have taken a drink at some stage in their life and 39 percent have been drunk in the preceding month. been drunk in. More than one in five (23%) of those surveyed had taken drugs during their lifetime and 29 percent had 'ever wanted to try' them. The prevalence of drug use was higher for 5th year students (32%) than 2nd year students (15%). Cannabis is the drug most commonly used. Most misusers are supplied by their friends and take drugs in public environments or in private residences. Males are more prominent misusers than females.

A number of recommendations are suggested based on these findings: There should be a renewed emphasis on drugs, alcohol and tobacco-related education; Parents should be made aware of the importance of controlling access and monitoring behaviour; The joint efforts of the Garda Síochána and publicans to minimise underage drinking should be continued as this research illustrates that many students still purchase and consume alcohol in public houses; Closer surveillance of teenage activity in public areas and the use of traditional deterrents to offending will help the situation but the extent of misuse in these environments would tend to suggest that a more holistic strategy is required;

The research illustrates that similar research across the 25 Garda Divisions is feasible and potentially useful. Given that the findings were largely in line with past research, however, it is unclear just how valuable or insightful it would be.

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