Teachers Most Valuable Source for Information about Drugs, Study Shows

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28th July 2014 15:35 - Pharmaceutical

Teachers are seen as the most useful source of information when it comes to talking about drugs, according to findings published in NatCen’s Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People report.

The survey, which was conducted with 5,187 children aged between 11 and 15, discovered that almost seven in 10 (69%) of those questioned believe teachers are a helpful source of information when it comes to drugs and the issues surrounding them – a 6% increase on 2009’s figure (63%).

Elsewhere, a similar proportion (68%) said parents are a beneficial source of information, with friends (42%) and siblings (33%) viewed much less valuably.

According NatCen’s findings, around one sixth (16%) of the study’s 11 to 15 year old sample had tried at least one drug in 2013.

Furthermore, one third of the pupils questioned said they would like to know more about drugs, with two thirds (66%) believing schools currently provide enough information on the subject – less than alcohol (70%) and smoking (73%).

Of the 173 schools that were included in the study, four in five said they put on lessons to educate pupils about drugs, smoking and alcohol, however, just three in five students recalled such lessons actually taking place.

Television was viewed as the most useful source of media for information about drugs by three fifths (59%) of the sample, with the Internet a not-too-distant second (53%).

FRANK – a government funded website – appears to have lost its significance in recent years, with the number of people who perceive it as helpful halving between 2009 (36%) and 2013 (18%).

Elizabeth Fuller, Research Director at NatCen Social Research, said: “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.”

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