A recent study backed by the UK government shows that drinking and drug taking amongst 11-15 year olds has dropped substantially. In the past ten years, the number of children taking drugs or drinking has nearly halved.
The number of school children who have tried cannabis or other illegal drugs has dropped from 30% in 2003 to 16% in 2013. The number of school aged children who had consumed alcohol fell similarly. In 2003 25% of pupils had been drinking in the past week. By 2013, the number fell to just 9%.
Even the number of children smoking has dropped. 9% of school children reported smoking once a week in 2003 while in 2013 the number was only 3%.
There are a number of theories behind this drop. Some people claim the fall in overall drug use is linked to better education, others cite the war on drugs.
It is unlikely that the war on drugs was behind this drop in usage among young people. The drug war did not target smoking or drinking which means that explanation cannot explain the trend of young people shunning all forms of drug use.
The most likely explanation is a combination of many different ideas. Better drug education, more drug awareness among parents and widespread media coverage of the effects of drug abuse could all help explain this trend.
Either way, drug treatment campaigners and politician are celebrating the great news. With fewer children using drugs it could mean savings for police, the NHS, and taxpayers in general.
More importantly, it means a generation of Brits will have fewer health problems and be able to contribute more to society. This could have all sorts of benefits including a better economy and healthier children in the future. It also means fewer profits for drug smugglers and cartels that make a living supplying the drugs. That will harm criminals at home and abroad.
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