Articles - General

Drug Use Survey

Why Do a Survey ?

Anecdotal evidence from similar surveys done amongst "churched" youth has shown their drug use to be statistically similar to that of the rest of the population.

The idea of this survey was to see whether this was the case with our young people, to gain an indication of the need for drug awareness promotion amongst our young people and their parents. We were aiming for a broad overview rather than a statistically significant result.

Approximately 150 surveys were given out at the Youth Conference 2000. The total number of respondents within the age range of 14-30 years was 110. These have been further divided up into male and female within two age groups: 14-17 year olds and 18-30 year olds.

Respondents were asked to indicate whether they had used various drugs: never, in the last 12 months or regularly.

Those who had used in the last 12 months, rather than regularly, could be considered to be "experimenting" and currently at less risk than those who chose to make their drug use a regular habit.

Results (results have been rounded to the nearest percent)

Females 14-17 years old (21 respondents)
Drug   % usage last 12 months  % who use this drug regularly
Tobacco 24 5
Alcohol 5 7
Cannabis 0 0
Amphetamines 0 0
Other illegal drug 0 0
* 38% of people in this group had been offered an illegal drug.
* 67% of people in this group indicated that their parents had discussed drug risks with them.
Males 14-17 years old (17 respondents)
Drug   % usage last 12 months  % who use this drug regularly
Tobacco 18 18
Alcohol 53 29
Cannabis 24 6
Amphetamines 0 0
Other illegal drug   6 0
* 53% of people in this group had been offered an illegal drug
* 70% of people in this group indicated that their parents had discussed drug risks with them.
Females 18-30 years old (37 respondents)
Drug   % usage last 12 months  % who use this drug regularly
Tobacco 11 8
Alcohol 35 51
Cannabis 11 3
Amphetamines 3 0
Other illegal drug 0 3
* 41% of people in this group who had been offered an illegal drug.
* 43% of people in this group indicated that their parents had discussed drug risks with them.
Males 18-30 years old (35 respondents)
Drug   % usage last 12 months  % who use this drug regularly
Tobacco 23 9
Alcohol 57 37
Cannabis 6 3
Amphetamines 3 3
Other illegal drug  3 3
* 66% of people in this group had been offered an illegal drug.
* 40% of people in this group indicated that their parents had discussed drug risks with them

What do these results mean ?

Drug usage amongst our young people certainly appears to be lower than that of the general population-which is great!

An issue of concern is that 30% of our 14-17 year old males appear to use alcohol regularly. Apart from the fact of it being illegal for them to purchase alcohol, this age group is far more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. In the general population, over 60% of senior students consume alcohol at levels hazardous or harmful to their health** and that trend seems to be affecting our young people.

The high number of our young people who have been offered illegal drugs emphasises the importance of parents educating their children properly.

Comments

The young people were given the opportunity to make comments. Most of these were expressions of thanks, appreciation for a factual presentation and encouragement to continue to offer these sort of seminars for them. One or two were concerned about the statistical significance of the survey-which was addressed.

A few expressed their concern that they had been exposed to drugs/drug offers at Christadelphian camps and functions and that they had friends using drugs.

Anyone who wants more details, please feel free to contact me.

Heather Symes BPharm, MPS

**National Drug Strategy: Key National Indicators, Department of Health and Family Services

 

Telephone Contact: 0402 159 160

 

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