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Publication, Part of

Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England 2018 [NS]

National statistics

National Statistics

Part 9: Young people who have taken drugs

This part focuses further on the behaviour of pupils who have taken drugs at least once.

Topics covered include

  • from whom pupils get drugs;
  • where pupils were when they got drugs;
  • with whom they took them, and
  • ease of obtaining drugs.

Some of the analysis is only based on pupils who said they had taken drugs on more than one occasion. Pupils who had not taken a drug within the last year are excluded as they were not asked on how many occasions they had taken drugs.

From whom pupils got drugs

From whom pupils got drugs on the first occasion, by type of drug (grouped)

On the first occasion they tried drugs, 57% said they had got the drugs from a friend, with most of these being from a friend of the same age. 75% of pupils who only took cannabis on the first occasion, got it from a friend.

Overall 11% said they got drugs from a dealer, but this was 29% where a class A drug was taken. 

Overall 6% said they got drugs from a shop, with these mostly involving volatile substances.

Only selected responses for whom the pupil got drugs are shown in the chart below (see table 9.1 for the full list of responses).

From whom pupils got drugs on the most recent occasion

Analyses in this section are based on pupils who have taken drugs on more than one occasion.

As with the first occasion, drugs taken on the most recent occasion were most commonly obtained from friends: 57% from any friend, including 40% from friends of their own age.  

22% of pupils said they got drugs from a dealer. Obtaining drugs from a dealer was more likely for boys; 31% compared with 13% of girls.

Only selected responses are shown in the 2nd chart below.

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For more data relating to this section:

 

 

Where pupils get drugs

Analyses in this section are based on pupils who have taken drugs on more than one occasion.

Where pupils got drugs on the most recent occasion

44% of pupils said they were outdoors (in a street, park or other outdoor area) when they last obtained drugs, by far the most common type of location.

12% said they obtained drugs whilst at school.

 

Where pupils got drugs on the most recent occasion, by age

Pupils were most likely to be outdoors when they obtained drugs across all ages.

Younger pupils were more likely to have obtained drugs at school than older pupils; 22% of 11-13 year olds compared to 7% of 15 year olds.

Only selected responses are shown in the chart below.

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For more data relating to this section:

 

 

With whom pupils take drugs

With whom pupils took drugs on the most recent occasion

Analysis is based on pupils who have taken drugs on more than one occasion.

85% of pupils said they were with a friend(s) when they last took drugs.

11% of pupils said they were alone.

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For more data relating to this section:

 

 

Perceived ease of getting illegal drugs

Perceived ease of getting illegal drugs, by age

Analysis is based on all pupils. 

31% of pupils perceived it to be easy to get illegal drugs, with no significant variation over the last ten years (see table 9.19). 30% of pupils perceived it to be difficult1.

39% said they didn’t know (not shown on chart).

The proportion who thought it would be easy to get drugs increased with age; Over half of 15 year olds (55%) thought it would be easy to get illegal drugs, compared with 8% of 11 year olds.

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1. 'Easy’ category included pupils who perceived it ‘very easy’ or ‘fairly easy’ to get drugs; ‘Difficult’ category includes pupils who perceived it ‘very difficult’ or ‘fairly difficult’ to get drugs.

For more data relating to this section:


Last edited: 23 January 2020 3:48 pm