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More young people turning to teachers for drugs advice

Seven in ten 11 to 15 year olds cite teachers as helpful sources of information on drugs, up since 2009

24 July 2014

A survey published today which was carried out by NatCen Social Research finds finds that 69% of 11 to 15 year olds say that teachers are a helpful source of information about taking drugs, up from 63% in 2009. Almost as many pupils (68%) said their parents were also helpful sources.

However, young people today are less likely to think that their peers will give them helpful information about drugs; 42% mentioned friends and 33%, siblings.

The 2013 Survey of Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England was carried out with 5187 11 to 15 year olds in 173 schools and explores pupils’ experiences, beliefs and attitudes.

Between 2003 and 2011, drug use amongst 11 to 15 year olds declined, but levels have stabilised over the last three years. In 2013,16% of the age group said that they had tried at least one drug.

Could do better?

Even though teachers are seen as a key information source about drugs, a third of pupils would like to know more. Pupils were less likely to say that their school had given them enough information about drugs (66%) than about alcohol (70%) or smoking (73%).

And while more than 4 in 5 schools say that they provide lessons about smoking, drinking and drug use at least once a year, just 3 in 5 pupils recalled any such teaching in the last year.

TV tops other media

TV was consistently the most mentioned media source of helpful information about drugs over the last five years. In 2013, 59% of pupils mentioned TV as a source of helpful information about drugs, ahead of the internet (53%). However the impact of the government funded website FRANK has fallen in recent years, from 36% in 2009 to 18% in 2013.

Elizabeth Fuller, Research Director at NatCen Social Research commented:

 “The findings confirm the importance of teachers as a trusted and credible source for young people about drugs. However, there is still scope to improve. Fewer pupils than expected can recall receiving lessons about smoking, drinking and drug use, and a significant minority of young people still don’t feel that their school gives them enough information about drugs.”

For more information please contact naomi.joyner@natcen.ac.uk  or on 0207 5499 550 / 07734 960069

NOTES

The survey of smoking, drinking and drugs use among young people in England is commissioned by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and carried out by NatCen Social Research and the National Foundation for Educational research. The full report can be found here.