Survey reveals alarming spike in youth alcohol and drug consumption

A new survey by the national youth mental health foundation has found vastly higher rates of drug and alcohol consumption than previous national data. 

The poll of 3634 respondents aged 12—25 years, conducted via the headspace website, found 92% had drunk alcohol and 34% had taken recreational drugs in the past two months. Among under-18s, 74% had indulged in alcohol, 24% used drugs and 65% said their friends had used drugs. 

Mr Tanti said the figures were “alarming”.

“We know teenagers do drugs and alcohol – we see it on the weekends – but we don’t know the extent.” 

GPs are well placed to pick up on problems like depression, anxiety and substance abuse when young people present with physical conditions, Mr Tanti said.

“The difficulty is, we just assume they will tell us if there’s a problem. But they might not even know something is wrong.”