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NHS figures show drink and drug use falling amongst children

Drink and drug use amongst children is falling, according to latest figures from the NHS Information Centre.

However, the report Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England, 2008, found that young people who are drinking are doing so in large quantities, with those whose parents regularly drink three times more likely to consume alcohol.

The survey, which quizzed almost 7,800 pupils aged 11-15 from 264 secondary schools in England, found that nearly a fifth had consumed alcohol in the week prior to the survey, down from a peak of 26% in 2001.

The number of pupils regularly smoking fell to 6%, down from a high of 13% in 1996, while eight per cent had taken drugs in the month prior to the survey, down from 12% in 2001.

However, despite the reduction in usage, almost 40% of 15-year-olds said they had consumed alcohol in the last week, with three fifths of these saying they drank an average of more than four units a day.

Children were also found to be more than three times as likely to drink alcohol if they lived with three or more people who drank alcohol.

Overall, just over half of pupils surveyed had tried alcohol at least once, almost a third had tried smoking at least once, and just over a fifth had tried drugs.

Children are three times more likely to drink if they are surrounded by drinkers at home New alcohol figures

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