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Monday, 24 May, 1999, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
Drugs 'part of mainstream youth culture'

Most young people surveyed said they had taken drugs
May '99: Drug use among young people has become a normal part of dance and youth culture, according to researchers.

A study carried out by Edinburgh University and drugs agency Crew 2000 in the city found more than half of young people surveyed mix drugs and alcohol and a quarter sometimes drive under the influence of drugs.

The research revealed that young people attending dance venues considered drug usage as commonplace, with 78% of the 222 respondents stating they had used drugs at some stage.

Dance clubgoers in Edinburgh were surveyed
It also found that 70% of young people said they had used drugs in the last year and 93% of those who had used drugs said they were prepared to mix substances.

Crew 2000, which organised the survey to find out how young people's drug habits have changed, said the main age group using drugs on the dance scene has fallen.

Usage was most commonplace within the 18-20 age group, whereas past surveys showed 20-24-year-olds were more likely to use drugs.

The study also indicated varying degrees of "at risk" behaviour among young drug users.

Of those surveyed, 28% said they always mixed alcohol and drugs and 57% said they would mix the two occasionally.

And 11% said they always drove under the influence of drugs, with 25% saying they would do so sometimes.

Some young people had mixed substances
Drugs most commonly used on the dance floor were ecstasy, used by 82%, speed, 81%, cocaine, 39% and LSD, 30%.

Crew 2000 says the Scottish Office introduced guidelines for the stewarding of rave events - including free water and drugs information.

But now that raves have largely disappeared, it says similar facilities should be made available at smaller venues like dance clubs.

And it is calling for a greater emphasis to be placed on the education of children aged 10 to 14

Drugs in Schools
Spokesman Mike Cadger said: "First of all we need to target quality information at the young people who are experimenting and that information needs to be targeted at them in the places where they are doing the experimentation - in the clubs.

"And prevention should be targeted not so much at older teenagers and adolescents but at 10-14-years-olds. That is the way of reaching young people before they get involved in the club scene."

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25 May 99 | drugs
Drugs in Eton's sixth form
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