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Smoking, drinking and drug use by young people in England [2017 update]

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An overview of smoking, drinking and drug use trends and perceptions among young people in England (2016/17).

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Smoking, drinking and drug use by young people in England [2017 update]

  1. 1. Smoking, drinking and drug use by young people in England 2016/17
  2. 2. Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England is falling (gov.uk, 2016).
  3. 3. Alcohol
  4. 4. A downward trend in underage alcohol consumption Hospital admissions for alcohol – specific conditions particularly intoxication, are declining among the under 18s, stated Public Health England in 2016.
  5. 5. Alcohol trends in children aged 11-15 Health & Social Care Information Centre, 2016  In 2014 the lowest figure was recorded for children consuming alcohol (38%).  49% of pupils who reported getting drunk have done so at home, at a party or over someone’s house.  79% of pupils feel socially pressured to drink so they ‘look cool.’  91% of parents are aware of their child’s alcohol use. Based on statistics from What About YOUth? Survey (2014) retrieved from HSCIC.
  6. 6. Challenging social norms around alcohol use in school and at home  There are strong links between the health and wellbeing of children and young people and their educational attainment.  Both parents and schools should take a social norms approach – correcting ‘myth-understandings’ about how common or acceptable alcohol use is among young people.  Get young people to think about people their age who drink and then present them with an accurate statistics.  Read the Mentor-ADEPIS briefing paper 2017 to find out more: http://cayt.mentor-adepis.org/wp- content/uploads/2017/03/FINAL-What-Works-Briefing-Paper- 22.3.2017.pdf
  7. 7. Smoking Including cigarettes, rolling tobacco and vaping.
  8. 8. A downward trend in underage smoking Underage smoking levels are at their lowest since the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Survey began in 1982.
  9. 9. Trends in children who smoke cigarettes or rolling tobacco What About YOUth? Survey, 2014  24% of pupils said they had ever smoked (What About YOUth? Survey, 2014).  Girls are more likely than boys to smoke.  84% of underage smokers said that smoking cigarettes helped them feel more relaxed if they were nervous.  Weekly consumption of cigarettes for boys who regularly smoked: 29.8 cigarettes per week and girls smoked 22.4 cigarettes per week.Image retrieved from What About YOUth? survey, 2014
  10. 10. Trends in children who smoke e-cigarettes  5% of children age 11 have smoked an e-cigarette (What About YOUth? Survey, 2014).  The downward trend in tobacco smoking could be a result of an increase in children who smoke electronic cigarettes (Baul et al, 2016: 102).  There is a link between high e-cigarette use and areas of deprivation (What About YOUth? Survey, 2014).  Regular use of e-cigarettes is rare and almost confined to those who have already used tobacco (House of Parliament, 2016).  Young people believe flavored e-cigarettes are ‘less harmful’ than tobacco refills (House of Parliament, 2016).  More research needs to be done around e-cigarette refills that contain cannabinoid oil to understand health harms, prevalence and their effect on young people.
  11. 11. Building resilience against smoking through education  School programmes based on a combination of social competence and social influence approaches have shown, small but consistent effects in preventing substance misuse.  Providing opportunities to learn and practice a range of personal and social skills, including coping, decision-making and resistance skills will help to reduce the number of underage smokers.  A holistic approach to education could minimise student anxiety levels.
  12. 12. Drugs Includes substances banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) and the Psychoactive Substance Act (2016).
  13. 13.  The prevalence of drug use increases with age: 6% of children age 11 have taken a drug at least once and 24% of people age 15 (NHS, 2017).  26% of children have been offered cannabis this motivates drug-use.  Half of pupils heard of ‘legal highs’ and only 2.9% of pupils said that they had experimented with new psychoactive substances (NPS).  The number of children in drug treatment has reduced.  Most children who take drugs (70%) do so only a few times a year (HSCIC, 2014).  Cannabis use in England varies regionally with the South West having high prevalence levels in children.Retrieved from NHS, 2017 based on statistics from What About YOUth? Survey, 2014 Downward trends in children’s drug-taking
  14. 14. Drug awareness among children  Most pupils have heard of cocaine, heroin, cannabis and crack cocaine. Other substances are less known (What About YOUth? Survey, 2014).  Less than half of pupils had heard of poppers, mephedrone, ketamine, methadone or LSD (What About YOUth? Survey, 2014).  While there is a downward trend in cannabis consumption there is a need for education campaigns that challenge social concepts that normalise cannabis use (What About YOUth? Survey, 2014).  Just over half of school pupils heard the phrase ‘legal highs’ (NHS,2017).  The 2016 Drugs & Alcohol Needs Assessment for Children & Young People in Kent found that media coverage around ‘legal highs’ had changed people’s perception of the harms.  Since the law change the term ‘legal highs’ has been replaced with the correct term ‘New Psychoactive Substances.’ This term isn’t widely used with many children and young people being unaware of its meaning.
  15. 15. Effective drugs education in schools Social competence approaches offering information but also allow pupils to model and practice giving feedback and positive reinforcement. These approaches teach personal and social skills such as generic self-management, target-setting, problem solving and decision-making, as well as cognitive skills to be able to resist media and interpersonal influences. They also increase assertiveness skills and competence and to interact with others. This can help them better manage relationships and situations where drugs may be present. Infographic taken from Mentor on the importance of PHSE in preventing substance misuse.
  16. 16. Trends in Young Adults Only includes illicit substances and NPS
  17. 17. Downward trends in young adults using NPS  NPS formerly known as ‘legal highs’ are now illegal to sell, supply, distribute and manufacture.  Before the blanket ban 1 in 40 young adults (16-24) reported using ‘legal highs.’ Uptake of these drugs in the general population is low compared to illicit substances (Home Office, 2015).  Uptake of NPS in the age bracket 11- 15 is a lot lower than the adult population at 2.5%.  The most at-risk groups are homeless men or those in custodial settings where synthetic cannabis is widespread.  Nitrous Oxide is the 7th most popular drug in the world according to Global Drugs Survey and has been widely used by young people age 16 -24.  It is difficult to assess the impact of the Psychoactive Substance Act (May 26th 2016) until the 30 month review of the Act. Retrieved from the Home Office to reflect popular NPS drugs that are used by people aged 16-24, as well as people who are older.
  18. 18. An upward trend in MDMA use among young adults aged 16-24  In 2015-16, 279,000 young adults reported using ecstasy this trend is motivated by the purity of MDMA (Home Office, 2016).  A European research paper, ESPAD, reported a general upward trend in illicit drug-use in people age 15 – 16 with highest rates of MDMA use in Ireland.  There is no evidence to suggest that the trend of purchasing MDMA drugs off the darknet is concentrated in this age group but there is visible evidence that documents a global increase in people who purchase substances via PGP encryption networks (Winstock 2016). Picture taken from the drug testing service The Loop who act as an early warning system on purity levels.
  19. 19. Further resources Information for young people, professionals and parents.
  20. 20.  Search the online drug directory for specialist information on NPS.  Watch short films  Find out about the latest drug trends and news.  Why Not Find Out also visits universities and colleges promoting this platform to students. Why Not Find Out Information for young people www.wnfo.org.uk
  21. 21. Professionals:  Use the Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT) to access the database of Impact Studies.  Attend CAYT seminars and webinars.  Enrol in the Mentor-ADEPIS online professional development course http://mentor-adepis.org/ Parents:  Order the Parent Handbook to stay informed about substances and their effects.  Get useful tips on how to have an open conversation about drugs with your child.  Request the handbook: emily.hicks@mentoruk.org Raising Awareness Information for professionals and parents
  22. 22. Sources  Bauld, L et al. (2016) E-Cigarette Uptake Among UK Youth: Experimentation, but Little or No Regular Use in Nonsmokers. Nicotine Tabaco Research. 98 (1), 102- 103.  European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2016. Recent Changes in Europe’s MDMA/ecstasy market. Luxembourg: EMCDDA  European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2015. ESPAD Report. Lisbon: EMCDDA  Global Drug Survey, 2016. [online]. Available at: < https://www.globaldrugsurvey.com/past-findings/the-global-drug-survey-2016-findings/ > [ Last Accessed March 9th 2017].  Gov.UK, 2016. Young People Are Less Likely to Drink; Does that Mean It Isn’t A Problem? [Online] 2nd August 2016. Available at: < https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2016/08/02/young-people-are-less-likely-to-drink-does-that-mean-it-isnt-a-problem/ > [Last Accessed 29th March 2017].  Home Office, 2016. Drug Misuse: Findings from 2015/16 crime survey for England & Wales. London: Home Office.  Mentor- ADEPIS, 2016. School based Alcohol & Drug Education & Prevention- What Works? [Online]. 22nd March 2016. Available at: < http://cayt.mentor-adepis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FINAL-What-Works-Briefing-Paper-22.3.2017.pdf > [ Last Accessed March 2016].  NHS, 2017. Statistics on Drugs Misuse. [Online]. Available at:< bit.ly/2lYGwe7> [Last accessed March 8th 2017].  Health & Social Care Information Centre, 2016. Statistics Alcohol [Online]. Available at:< bit.ly/2mYMPmN> [Last accessed March 8th 2017].  House of Parliament, 2016. Electronic Cigarettes. [PDF]. Available at: < file:///C:/Users/emily/Downloads/POST-PN-0533.pdf > [ Last Accessed March 9th 2017].  Health & Social Care Information Centre (2016). Smoking, drinking and drug use amongst young people in England. [PDF]. Available at: < http://content.digital.nhs.uk/media/18992/SDD-Consultation-Outcomes-Report/pdf/SDDConsultationOutcomesReport.pdf > [ Last Accessed March 9th 2017].  Office for National Statistics, 2016. Ecstasy deaths by age and gender, England & Wales, 1993 to 2015 registrations. [Online]. Available at: <https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/adhocs/006112ecstasydeathsbyageandgenderenglandandwale s1993to2015registrations >. [Last accessed March 8th 2017].  WEDNOS, 2016. PHILTRE Annual Report. Wales: Llywodraeth Cymru Welsh Government.

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