Objectives. The aim of this study was to assess current levels of regular cigarette, alcohol and illicit drug use in adolescents in light of reported research by Goddard & Higgins (1999). Design, setting, subjects. Survey of 9742 pupils (aged 11‐16) in a stratified sample of 28 schools in four Local Education Authority areas in Northern England, the Midlands and London. Data were collected during the latter part of 1999 and the first 3 months of 2000. Measures. Respondents were asked confidentially about their use, and extent of use, of psychotropic substances (cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs). Results. The prevalence of reported daily cigarette use rose from 4.8% at age 11 to 24.1% at age 16. More girls than boys smoked (13.7%, 9.5%, χ2 = 39.1, p < 0.0001). Reported monthly use of alcohol rose from 5.1% at age 11 to 36% at 16. Alcohol was drunk more by boys than girls (16.4% and 12.8% respectively, χ2 = 23.0, p < 0.0001) Reported monthly illicit drug use rose from 0.9% at age 11 to 14.5% at age 16. No overall differences were found between boys and girls. Conclusions. The results confirm that rates of cigarette smoking, alcohol and illicit drug use rise rapidly in the early teenage years, with higher rates of smoking in girls and drinking in boys.
Addiction – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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