In the midst of what seems to be an endless flow of bad news regarding drink and drugs in the UK, there is now some good news by way of a just-released state survey. The survey shows that the incidence of drinking and drug use among children of the ages 11 to 15 has dropped dramatically over the last decade. By some estimates, it has been cut in half.
The results of the research, which were made public on July 24 (2014), showed that the rate of drinking and drug taking among 11 to 15-year-olds is a third of what was in 2004. Furthermore, smoking rates and teen pregnancy rates have also fallen significantly. Teen smoking is at a 30-year low.
The data was collected by survey 5,000 school-aged children as part of their daily studies. In order to ferret out those surveys that were not answered truthfully, researchers inserted a number of dummy questions. For example, they asked the students if they had ever tried a non-existent drug with a made-up name. The question enabled researchers to address those questionnaires they thought were answered untruthfully by students boasting of things they had never done.
Now that the data has been made public, experts from all over the healthcare spectrum will undertake the task of explaining why the reduction has occurred. Already a couple of possible explanations have emerged. For example, some speculate that the rise of social media is keeping children at home in larger numbers than ever before. If that is true, children staying at home are less likely to be involved in drink and drugs with their peers because they are not out with those peers.
Another potential explanation is that increased education has had an effect on children at a younger age. By helping youngsters understand the dangers of drink and drugs, many more are choosing to avoid them. Those who support the education hypothesis say the same types of things that have reduced smoking rates among children by making smoking ‘uncool’ are also helping to reduce drug and alcohol use.
In all likelihood, both explanations are part of a much larger picture we will not really understand for years to come. There are probably a number of different factors involved in bringing down the drug and alcohol numbers. In the meantime, our best strategy is to keep doing what we are doing as long as it yields positive results.
Parents can help as well by adjusting their own attitudes about drinking and drugs. The attitudes children see displayed in their parents are likely to be significant in forming the child’s attitudes as well. If parents will take drugs and alcohol seriously at home, they will see positive results with their kids more often than not.
Recovery for Teens
Despite the encouraging results of the recent state survey, there remains a significant need for recovery programmes for teens. Everything from detox to residential rehab is necessary if we are to help those children already addicted to alcohol or drugs. Only when these children are treated will they be able to fully overcome.
At Addiction Helper, we specialise in assisting families looking for help for an addicted loved one. We have helped recovering addicts of all ages come to terms with their problems so that they can seek appropriate treatment. When clients call our addiction recovery helpline, we provide them with free and confidential assessments, recommendations for treatment, and answers to all their questions. If you or one of your children is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please do not hesitate to contact us. We want to help.