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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England - 2011

National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Regions, Country, Government Office Regions
Date Range:
01 Sep 2011 to 31 Dec 2011



This report contains results from an annual survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11 (mostly aged 11 to 15). 6,519 pupils in 219 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2011.

NatCen Social Research (NatCen) and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) carried out the survey on behalf of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). The Home Office and the Department for Education also have an interest in the statistics. This is the most recent survey in a series that began in 1982. Each survey since 1998 has included a core set of questions on smoking, drinking and drug use and, since 2000 the remainder of the questions have focused in alternate years on smoking and drinking or on drug use. The emphasis of the 2011 survey is on drug taking whilst still containing some information on smoking and drinking.

The survey report presents information on the percentage of pupils who have ever smoked, tried alcohol or taken drugs. The report also explores the attitudes and beliefs of school children towards drug taking and from where and from whom children obtain drugs. Relationships between smoking, drinking and drug use are explored along with the links between smoking, drinking and drug use and other factors such as age, gender, ethnicity and previous truancy or exclusion.

Regional data (combined for 2010 and 2011) have been included for key estimates of smoking, drinking and drug use among young people



  • There has been a decline in drug use by 11- to 15-year-old pupils since 2001. In 2011, 17 per cent of pupils had ever taken drugs, compared with 29 per cent in 2001. There were similar falls in the proportions of pupils who reported taking drugs in the last year and the last month.
  • The decline in the prevalence of drug use parallels the fall in the proportions of pupils who have ever been offered drugs, from 42 per cent in 2001 to 29 per cent in 2011.
  • Less than one in ten pupils (9 per cent) thought that it would be OK for someone of their age to try cannabis once to see what it's like, and fewer still thought it would be OK to sniff glue (7 per cent) or to try cocaine (2 per cent).
  • A quarter (25 per cent) of pupils had tried smoking at least once in 2011, with 5 per cent of pupils who smoked regularly (at least once a week).
  • The proportion of pupils who drank alcohol in the last week has fallen from 26 per cent in 2001 to 12 per cent in 2011.


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Last edited: 8 February 2022 1:05 pm