24% Of 11-15 Year Old Pupils Admit Taking Drugs

20 August 2019, 13:23 | Updated: 20 August 2019, 15:17

A new NHS survey reveals pupils' attitudes to alcohol, drugs and smoking, including the proportion of those who thought it's okay to get drunk on a weekly basis.


LBC Senior Reporter Matthew Thompson told Shelagh Fogarty that almost a quarter (24%) or one in ten of pupils, aged between 11-15 have reported taking drugs.

He explained that four or five per cent of 11-year-olds have admitted they've "sniffed glue" or "inhaled laughing gas."

"A small number of 13-year-olds, we're talking about one and a half per cent said they had taken cocaine

"There were similar numbers of 14-year-olds who said they had taken heroin."

24% is the same statistic as 2016, but a big increase from 2014 (14.6%).

Older children were more likely to take drugs: 9% of 11 year olds, versus 38% of 15 year olds.

Cannabis was the most commonly taken drug and 4% had taken a class A drug.

Watch Matthew Thompson's exchange with Shelagh Fogarty in the video at the top of the page.

A man smokes a marijuana joint at a party
A man smokes a marijuana joint at a party. Picture: PA


The survey recorded its lowest ever number of 11-15 year olds who had reported smoking, which was 16%.

This was down from 19% in 2016 and down from 49% in 1996.

A hand offering cigarettes in front of a school
A hand offering cigarettes in front of a school. Picture: PA


19% of 15 year olds thought it was acceptable to get drunk once a week.

44% of pupils said they’d ever had a drink.

Alcohol consumption levels have generally stayed stable for young people since 2016, but since 2003 the numbers have been in gradual decline.

The survey looked at alcohol consumption
The survey looked at alcohol consumption. Picture: PA


51% of 11 to 15 year olds who have recently smoked, drunk alcohol and taken drugs reported low levels of happiness the previous day; compared to 22% of young people who had done of none of these things.