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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Drug Use, Smoking and Drinking among young people in England 2007

This survey is the latest in a series designed to monitor smoking, drinking and drug use among secondary school pupils aged 11 to 15. Information was obtained from 7,831 pupils in 273 schools throughout England in the autumn term of 2007.

Drinking alcohol

The proportion of 11 to 15 year olds who have never drunk alcohol has risen in recent years, from 39% in 2003 to 46% in 2007. More than half of pupils aged between 11 and 15 have had at least one alcoholic drink in their lifetimes. This increases with age from 20% of 11 year olds to 81% of 15 year olds.

There has been a corresponding decline in the proportion of pupils who have drunk alcohol in the last seven days. In 2007, one in five (20%) of pupils said they had drunk alcohol in the last week; this is similar for boys and girls. The proportion who have drunk in the last week increases with age from 3% of 11 year olds to 41% of 15 year olds. White pupils are more likely to have drunk alcohol recently than those from minority ethnic groups.

Since 2000, average consumption among pupils who did drink has varied from year to year with no clear pattern. In 2007, average consumption was lower than in 2006.

The method of calculating pupils’ alcohol consumption in units has been revised this year in line with other surveys. Using the revised method of calculating consumption, pupils who drank alcohol in the last week consumed an average of 12.7 units, equivalent to over six pints of normal strength beer or nearly one and a half bottles of wine. Boys tend to drink more than girls and older pupils than younger ones.

Recent drinking is associated with other risky behaviours. Smokers and pupils who have taken drugs have increased odds of having drunk alcohol within the last week. Pupils who have a history of truancy or exclusion from school are also more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last seven days.

The report includes further information about the frequency of pupils’ drinking, and types of alcohol drunk.

Read Full Report (PDF)