Experimentation among adolescents is nothing new. For the current generation of secondary schoolchildren, exposure to displays of positive drug and alcohol use via TV, streaming services, music and social media is commonplace. Add to that peer pressure, a desire to explore the incoming adult world, instances of childhood trauma and the need just to simply take a break from the stresses of life, it is inevitable that some young people will take drugs, smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol.
The NHS has recently published its biannual study of English secondary schoolchildren entitled, “Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, 2021”. Children who participate in the study are asked questions that cover topics that relate to drug and alcohol use, and tobacco smoking, such as; prevalence, habits, attitudes, and wellbeing. The survey probes into how children meet other people outside the home and analyses what impact this has on their substance use.Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, 2021 - NHS Digital
The survey showed that cannabis was the drug pupils are most likely to have taken in the last year, with 6% overall saying they had done so in 2021, a figure that increased to 19% among 15 year olds. Pupils were almost twice as likely to have been offered cannabis than any other substance, with 17% of pupils having been offered the drug.