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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Drop in teenage drug use welcomed
First Base Agency
The First Base Agency helps support drug addicts
A support agency for addicts has welcomed figures showing a drop in the number of teenagers experimenting with drugs in Dumfries and Galloway.

A recent survey showed that 79% of 15-year-olds had never used drugs - up 18% compared to four years earlier.

The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Survey also saw a fall in alcohol and tobacco usage.

Mark Frankland, of the First Base Agency, said the figures were an encouraging platform to build on.

The Salsus survey is conducted every four years monitoring the trends of alcohol, drug and tobacco use as well as other lifestyle factors among 13 and 15-year-olds.

We just feel it's really important to put as much effort as possible to try and open kids' eyes up to what might await them if they make a few wrong choices
Mark Frankland
First Base Agency

The 2006 findings highlighted significant decreases in the percentages admitting to using these substances.

Mr Frankland said he hoped the figures might represent a turning point for the region.

"This is obviously what we have been working hard at for the last two or three years," he said.

"We had statistics from the executive about 18 months ago which really sadly proved that our region has got probably the worst incidence in Europe of heroin use within the 15 to 25 age group.

"So to see it easing down is really encouraging."

He said it was important to try to get the message across to people at as early a stage as possible.

'Wrong choices'

"We see people coming to the agencies two or three years into the grip of a heroin addiction and it really is hard to get things sorted out at that point," he said.

"We just feel it's really important to put as much effort as possible to try and open kids' eyes up to what might await them if they make a few wrong choices."

Mr Frankland said it showed that education had an important role to play.

"If you keep banging your head against the brick wall maybe a crack or two might appear," he added.




SEE ALSO
Drug needle scheme set to expand
13 Feb 07 |  South of Scotland
Clubs sign up to combat cocaine
12 Feb 07 |  South of Scotland
Drug users given sporting chance
31 Oct 06 |  South of Scotland
Drugs issue tackled at festival
10 Jul 06 |  South of Scotland

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