Worrying teen attitudes to drugs

From the Dominion Post today

Young teenagers have a negative view of methamphetamine, or P, but see little difference between illicit drugs cannabis and ecstasy and legal drugs alcohol and tobacco, a new survey has found. The UMR Research work, carried out for anti-P group the Stellar Trust, showed media stories about the links to horror crime and health damage were having an important effect on “self-prohibition”, Stellar chief executive Mike Williams said. Youths generally saw P users as “losers”. But they showed a worrying tolerance of cannabis and ecstasy, which were seen as “barely illegal” and were widely available. The survey covered a small sample of 12-to-17-year-olds – three focus groups and eight interviewed in pairs. It was difficult to conduct research among young teens because of legal restrictions, Mr Williams said. Signed parental consent was required for those under 16 years and parents viewed content before interviews.

…The UMR work showed smoking and drinking were widespread even among 12 and 13-year-olds who were heavily influenced by peer pressure. Use of marijuana was also common – about half had tried it – as was ecstasy, though it was seen mostly as a party drug used by older teens. Heroin, cocaine and P were viewed as the most serious drugs and were the least used

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