Despite ongoing concern about teenagers experimenting with drugs and alcohol, the latest research trends suggest that more young people are abstaining, compared to several decades ago, and the proportion who have used illegal drugs in the last year has been falling for the last decade.
The latest research updates, collated by the Association for Young People's Health (AYPH), points out that despite such positive statistics, this does not take into account particular vulnerable subgroups of young people, the fact that some drugs and alcohol are now stronger, and social media advertising may influence consumption.
According to the latest data on alcohol and drug taking, one in 10 young people aged 11-15 years old had drunk alcohol in the last week; in 2012, illegal drug use in this age group was at its lowest level since 2001. Over a quarter of deaths of 16-24-year-olds have been attributed to alcohol consumption, and alcohol and cannabis are by far the main substances for which under 18s access specialist services in England. In 2011, 26% of 13-15 year old males and 21% of females reported some experimentation with illegal drugs – the most common one being cannabis. To read and download the latest resources, reports and statistics, visit www.ayph.org.uk