There has been a decline in drug use among 11 to 15 year olds since 2001
In 2011, 17% of pupils reported that they had ever taken drugs. This has declined steadily over time, from 29% in 2001. There were similar falls in the proportions of 11 to 15 year olds that reported taking drugs in the last year and the last month. These declines in the prevalence of drug use mirrors the fall in the proportion of pupils who have ever been offered drugs (from 42% to 29% over the same period).
Cannabis is the most commonly used drug by 11 to 15 year olds
In line with previous years, pupils were most likely to have taken cannabis (with 7.6% reporting taking cannabis in the last year) or to have sniffed glue, gas or other volatile substances (3.5% in 2011). All other drugs asked about had been taken in the last year by 1% of pupils or less. Cannabis use has fallen in the last 10 years, in line with the overall declines in drug use.
Most pupils who take drugs do so infrequently
In 2011, 29% of pupils who had taken drugs in the last year had only ever taken drugs once and a third (34%) had taken drugs between 2 and 5 occasions in the last year.
The prevalence of smoking among 11 to 15 year olds is at the lowest level since the survey began
The prevalence of smoking among 11 to 15 year olds has steadily declined over time. In 2011, a quarter (25%) of pupils reported that they had tried smoking at least once. This is lower than at any time since the survey began in 1982, when more than half of pupils (53%) had tried smoking.
The prevalence of regular smoking has also declined
In 2011, 5% of pupils were defined as regular smokers (that is, they smoked at least one cigarette a week). This has declined over time from a high of 13% in 1996.
The proportion of pupils who have ever drunk alcohol has declined over time
Less than half (45%) of pupils aged 11 to 15 said that they have had at least one alcoholic drink in their lifetime. This has declined from 61% in 2001. Pupils in London were less likely than elsewhere to have drunk alcohol, with 30% of pupils in London reporting that they've had at least one alcoholic drink in their lifetime (compared to 45% overall).