More young people are using drugs now than ever before and drug use among young people is widespread across Europe. After alcohol and tobacco cannabis is the most widely-used substance. A study of 3,088 children between 11 and 16 in Wales found that nearly half of the sample had used a drug in their lifetime and more than one in half had done so in the past month. Lifetime drug use was most likely to be reported by the oldest age group while recent drug use was more common among 12-13 year olds implying that the majority of young people who had used drugs in their lifetime had since given up. Inhalants were the most commonly used category of drugs while cannabis was the most commonly used individual drug. The least commonly used drugs were heroin, sedatives and ecstasy. The most important risk factors for taking drugs were antisocial behaviour and attitudes, lack of attachment to school, negative thinking, psychological problems and behavioural problems.
Case, Stephen and Haines, Kevin R. - Factors shaping substance use by young people in Wales Journal of Substance Use February 2008, 13(1), 1-15