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One In 10 Teens In UK Tries Hard Drugs By The Age Of 17

Written by on 16/02/2021

Among 17-year-olds in the UK, one in 10 will have used hard drugs, such as ketamine and cocaine, a study suggests.

The University College London research also showed nearly a third of 17-year-olds had tried cannabis and more than half admitted to binge-drinking alcohol.

Almost 20,000 young people, born between 2000 and 2002, were surveyed as part of the Millennium Cohort Study.

Drug-use rates were higher among white teens than black teens.

A quarter of 17-year-olds also said they had assaulted someone, including shoving, slapping or punching another person over the previous 12 months.

But this figure had fallen by seven percentage points from when the tracking survey was last conducted, when participants were aged 14.

Young people with graduate parents were more likely to report alcohol use and binge drinking than those whose parents did not have degrees.

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But rates of drug use remained similar regardless of parents’ educational qualifications.

The study found that as these young people “approached adulthood, reports of anti-social behaviors mostly remained stable or declined compared to rates at age 14”.

Hard drug use was twice as prevalent among white teenagers than their BAME counterparts, while binge-drinking was almost three times higher.

This list of hard drugs included cocaine, acid, ecstasy, speed, ketamine and any other psychoactive substances.

Among white teenagers, 11% reported using harder drugs compared with 5% for their BAME counterparts, and 59% of white teenagers had engaged in binge-drinking alcohol, compared with 21% of BAME teenagers.

Cannabis use, hard drug taking and binge-drinking were also considerably higher among young men than women.

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