Problems with substances start early - half of all New Zealanders with a substance dependence issue were already dependent by the time they were 19.
At your school:
Every student will make a decision whether or not to use alcohol and other drugs.
Many students will try alcohol and other drugs.
Some students will suffer short-term harms.
A few students will develop long-term problems.
By age 13, three in 10 students had already tried alcohol, although only two in 10 students were currently drinking.
By 17 years of age, that number had dramatically increased to over eight in 10 students who had ever tried alcohol, and seven in 10 students were currently drinking.
While one in four secondary school students had tried cannabis, only one in eight said they were currently using the drug.
Regular use was even less common, with only one in 30 secondary school students reporting they used cannabis weekly or more often.
Only three percent of secondary school students had ever used ecstasy.
Even less - only 0.6 percent, had used methamphetamine (P), and half of those had only used it once.
While overall usage is low, some students are more at risk of harm. Just over 1 in 10 (11 percent) of secondary school students had used substances at levels that were likely to cause significant current harm and could cause long-term problems.
The impacts of some short term harms can last a long time.
Two thirds of those most at-risk students who were using drugs at a level likely to cause them significant harm had never worried about their substance use.
We need to be proactive to identify these students and provide support, because they are unlikely to realise that their substance use is affecting their education, and are unlikely to seek support themselves.
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