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Recent Scottish Drug Abuse Statistics.

Drug Abuse Statistics amongst teenagers / adults in Scotland.

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Drug abuse statistics from Scotland have recently been released in the form of two large surveys: the Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey (SCVS) 2006 and the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2006.  These provide a detailed insight into the prevalence of drug abuse in Scotland in all age groups.  Of course, these statistics are very similar to the rest of the UK and give us valuable statistical information on the current level of drug abuse.

See also other recent article entitled Drug Abuse Statistics in Young People and Alcohol Abuse Facts and Statistics.

The statistics detailed below are without doubt significant for parents who may not yet appreciate how many children and teenagers abuse illegal drugs but also are important for UK employers who may not have considered how many of their employees may be under the influence of substances whilst in the workplace.

The SCVS survey covered the views and experiences of just under 5000 adult respondents which represent a broad cross section of society, while the SALSUS survey obtained information from just over 23,000 children and teenagers.  The results of these two studies are summarised as follows:

Drug Abuse Statistics: Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2006:

A significant proportion of parents are currently unaware of the prevalence of substance abuse amongst children and teenagers. Based upon the statistics, prevention is clearly the key here, but often parents delay the discussion of drug abuse issues with their children, unfortunately assuming that they won’t be exposed to drugs until they are older. As the statistics below demonstrate, drug abuse can often occur very early on in today’s drug abuse and binge drinking culture. So please don’t make the common mistake of putting off your discussion about drug and alcohol awareness with your children.

  • 9% of 13 year olds and over a quarter (27%) of 15 year olds reported that they had used an illicit drug at some point in their lives.

  • 7% of 13 year olds and 23% of 15 year olds reported that they had used an illicit drug in the year prior to the survey.

  • 4% of 13 year olds and 14% of 15 year olds reported that they had abused an illegal drug in the month prior to the survey which is perhaps indicative of more frequent recreational drug use.

There was only minor difference between boys and girls in the statistics of those who reported that they had used illegal drugs in the last month (13 year olds, boys 4%, girls 3%: 15 year olds, boys 14%, girls 12%).

4% of 15 year olds admitted abusing illegal drugs at least once per week (including those reporting use on most days). An additional 4% of 15 year olds reported that they often abused illegal drugs once or twice per month and 4% a few times a year.

Statistics Linking Smoking, Alcohol and Drug Abuse?

The statistics seem to show an increase in the amount of substance abuse among  smokers and alcohol users.  33% of 13 year olds and 50% of 15 year olds who were regular smokers had also used drugs in the last month. The prevalence was lower than this among weekly drinkers; 19% of 13 year olds and 34% of 15 year olds who were weekly drinkers had also used drugs in the last month, but still higher than the overall prevalence for all pupils (4% of 13 year olds and 13% of 15 year olds).

So what about the availability of illegal drugs for young people?

Well, as with other UK data concerning the availability of drugs, this survey also highlighted how many children and teenagers have actually been offered illicit drugs.

During 2006, just under a quarter (23%) of 13 year olds and over half (53%) of 15 year olds reported that they had ever been offered illicit drugs. There was little difference between boys and girls in their experience of being offered illicit drugs. At age 13, 25% of boys and 21% of girls reported having been offered illicit drugs, whilst at age 15 years old 55% of boys and 51% of girls reported having been offered illegal drugs.

It appears there is an obvious cultural move toward drug abuse in the younger generations and this is a difficult trend to reverse as the young people become parents themselves with a more liberal and relaxed attitude towards illegal drugs. Having a greater awareness of drugs, their effects and the associated hazards is vital for parents if they are to educate their children.  Being able to spot the signs and symptoms of abuse also has its place in diagnosing any existing problems.

Many parents are also unaware of home drug testing kits which are available for same day despatch via mail order.

When used in conjunction with open communication and co-operation, these test kits can be used to help deter children and teenagers from abusing drugs and to create an opposing force against peer pressure. Being able to say, “Sorry, I can’t use drugs because my parents test me at home” can make all the difference.

So if you would like more drug information, alcohol information, or to purchase drug or alcohol test kits for use in the home, visit our dedicated home drug test site www.1st-home-drug-tests.com to buy drug tests online.

Alternatively, for employers we have a page specifically for information on random drug testing in the workplace.

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Drug Abuse Statistics: Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey (SCVS) 2006:

Unlike the SALSUS survey, the SCVS survey covered adult drug abuse statistics – which of course affect the workplace, road safety and many other areas of modern living.  In particular, employers should be aware of the following statistics and how they can affect the safety of all employees while at work.

See also our Workplace Drug Testing article for employers.

Greater than one third (37%) of all those surveyed reported having taken illicit drugs at least once during their lifetime, while 13% reported using illegal drugs in the last year.

There was a trend for more male respondents to report having abused illegal drugs (43%) than female respondents (31%) at any point in their lives.

Greater than 55% of those respondents aged 20 to 34 years old, 46% of those aged 16 to 19 years old and 39% of 35 to 39 year olds and a fifth of 40 to 59 year olds had used drugs at some stage in their lives, indicating that the younger age ranges are far more likely to use illegal drugs.

With regards to more recent drug abuse, at least a third of male respondents in each age group under 29 years old had used drugs in the last year. This fell to 21% of 30 to 34 year olds, 17% of 35 to 39 year olds and 4% of 40 to 59 year olds. The number of female respondents reporting drug abuse in the last year also declined with age (36% of 16 to 19 year olds, 24% of 20 to 24 year olds, 12% of 25 to 29 year olds and 5% of 30 to 34 year olds).

With regard to which drugs were used most commonly, it was found that Cannabis (or Marijuana) was the drug most frequently used in the year prior to the survey and used ever (11% and 33% respectively). Cocaine was reported to have been used in the last year by 4% of those questioned and used ever by 9%. Ecstasy was used in the last year by 3% and used ever by 10% of respondents. Amphetamines and poppers had each been used in the last year by 2% of respondents and used ever by 14% and 10% of respondents respectively.

The highest level of Cannabis use ‘ever’ was reported amongst 20 to 24 year age olds (54%) and 25 to 29 year olds (53%). The same was observed for cocaine (17% of 20 to 24 year olds and 18% of 25 to 29 year olds).  Ecstasy use ever was reported most often among 25 to 29 year olds (25%) and 30 to 34 year olds (22%)

Other useful statistics were also taken into consideration such as which drugs people had been offered. Cannabis (Marijuana) was the drug reported as having been most frequently offered in the last year.  One in five (20%) males and 12% of females reported having been offered Cannabis within the last year.

In conclusion, whether you are a parent concerned about your children or an employer looking to reduce the impact of substance abuse in the workplace, you should arm yourselves with more information and develop a structured plan of action. Drug information, on-site drug and alcohol test kits, awareness training, etc, are all available – so formulate a strategy today!

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