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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Fewer teens using drink and drugs
The number of teenagers who smoke has remained stable
The number of teenagers drinking alcohol and taking drugs in England is falling, a national survey has found.

The annual poll of 8,200 11 to 15-year-olds found 21% had an alcoholic drink in the previous week, down from 26% in 2001.

And 17% had taken drugs once a month or more in 2006, down from 19% in 2005.

Government ministers said the findings were "encouraging", but pledged to cut the numbers smoking, drinking and taking drugs further.

The survey by the Information Centre, which talked to children at 290 schools, found that 9% took drugs in the last month, down from 11% in 2005.

It also found half had never had a proper alcoholic drink.

In addition, 61% said they had never smoked - the same proportion as in 2004.

The number who were regular smokers has remained at 9% in 2003. Only 1% of 11-year-olds smoked, rising to 20% of 15-year-olds.

'Not complacent'

Caroline Flint, public health minister, said: "This survey has revealed some very encouraging results.

"This demonstrates that our policies are having a real impact in terms of tackling substance misuse amongst young people.

"Despite these promising figures, we are not complacent - just one young person smoking or misusing alcohol or drugs is one too many."

She said a campaign was promised to raise awareness of sensible drinking.

The government also plans to raise the legal age at which people can buy tobacco products from 16 to 18-years-old.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said: "Today's results demonstrate the real impact of our unparalleled investment in work to reduce drug misuse by young people.

"However, the cost of drug misuse to people, families and communities cannot be underestimated.

"We are exploring how the future drug strategy can build on local success to tackle drugs and make communities even safer."


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