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Home > Smoking, alcohol & illicit drug use among young people in a health board region in 1997 and 2002: a comparative study.

Flanagan, E and Bedford, Declan and O'Farrell, Anne and Browne, Colm and Howell, F (2004) Smoking, alcohol & illicit drug use among young people in a health board region in 1997 and 2002: a comparative study. Irish Medical Journal , 97 , (8) , pp. 230-4.

URL: http://archive.imj.ie//ViewArticleDetails.aspx?Art...

The objectives of this study were to document and compare patterns of licit and illicit drug use among adolescents in a health board region in 1997 and 2002. 1516 students in 1997 and 1426 in 2002, randomly selected from post-primary schools in the region, completed a questionnaire, incorporating items related to smoking, alcohol and illicit drug use.

Lifetime smoking prevalence in 2002 (50.8%) showed a statistically significant decrease from 1997 (57.1%). There was also a statistically significant decrease in regular smoking (1997 - 30.7%; 2002 - 18.2%). There was no significant change in regular alcohol consumption (57.3% - 1997; 53.7% - 2002). However, there was an increase in binge drinking at weekends and reports of feeling drunk more than ten times (24% - 1997; 27.2% - 2002). In 2002, 41.2% had ever taken an illicit drug, a statistically significant increase from 1997 (34.9%); 15.1% were regular users, also a statistically significant increase from 1997 (11.9%). These findings highlight that while the misuse of illicit drugs has increased, smoking has significantly declined since 1997. However, alcohol continues to be a major problem within this age-group. This study has implications for the implementation of services and strategies aimed at reducing smoking, alcohol and drug use within this population


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