Home > Smoking, alcohol and drug use among young people.

Flanagan, E and Bedford, Declan and O'Farrell, Anne and Howell, F (2003) Smoking, alcohol and drug use among young people. Navan: North Eastern Health Board.

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This survey was carried out in 2002 as a follow-up to a study done in 1997. The survey aimed to document the prevalence and patterns of both licit and illict drug use in the post-primary population of the North Eastern Health Board (NEHB) region. It also aimed to present a profile of users and drugs being used and to compare the results to the 1997 survey, which would then provide useful information to assist in targeted health promotion campaigns.

For the study 1,426 students from the ages of 12 to 19 inclusive from 24 post-primary schools in the NEHB completed a questionnaire. The study showed that the numbers of students that had ever smoked a cigarette had decreased from 57.1% in 1997 to 50.8%, with 18.2% classified as regular smokers compared with 30.7% in 1997. Regular smokers in 2002 smoked more daily than in 1997. 83.6% of regular smokers aged less than 18 buy their own cigarettes even though it is illegal to sell to them at this age. The lifetime prevalence for alcohol (ever having consumed a full alcoholic drink) was 71.3% in 2002, with 72.5% reported in 1997. The survey found 53.7% were regular drinkers (consuming one or more drinks per week) compared with 57.3% in 1997. 30% of drinkers reported having more than five drinks on a Saturday night compared with 27.1% in 1997; the number reporting more than 10 drinks increased from 3.5% in 1997 to 6.9% in 2002. The lifetime prevalence for illegal drugs was 41.2% in 2002 compared to 34.9% in 1997. 15.1% of those surveyed used drugs at least once in the last month and the drugs most commonly misused were cannabis (12.5%), glue/solvents (2.5%) and ecstasy (1.3%). There was little misuse of other illegal drugs.

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