Drug use is widespread in schools, says survey

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The Independent Online

Drug abuse is widespread at British secondary schools, according to a survey of more than 1,000 teenage girls. Seventy-one per cent told a poll by CosmoGirl that cannabis was regularly used at their schools, despite a wealth of anti-drug messages from the Government.

Drug abuse is widespread at British secondary schools, according to a survey of more than 1,000 teenage girls. Seventy-one per cent told a poll by CosmoGirl that cannabis was regularly used at their schools, despite a wealth of anti-drug messages from the Government.

The poll shows that a third of its readers smoke, says the magazine, while more than half drink, most of them illegally - results which will dismay ministers whose recently published White Paper on health attempts to cut down consumption of both tobacco and alcohol.

The teenagers did, though, support the proposal for a ban on smoking in public places. They also backed the idea of random drug testing in school - a process which remains illegal in state-funded schools, but already takes place in the private sector.

Forty-nine per cent of the readers had never smoked and 83 per cent say they have never taken drugs. But nearly one in 10 teenagers smoke every day while a further 26 per cent do so occasionally, and 41 per cent take drugs - mostly cannabis.

There was no lack of knowledge, with 70 per cent fully acknowledging the risks of substance abuse.

The editor of CosmoGirl, Miranda Eason, said: "This survey shows that teenagers are highly aware of the dangers of drugs but there is still a worrying number exposing themselves to these damaging substances because they are surrounded by temptation and filled with teenage curiosity."

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