Third of Cape pupils smoke, drink - survey

2013-04-22 21:56

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Cape Town - At least a third of Western Cape high school pupils are using tobacco, alcohol, and dagga, a provincial social department survey revealed on Monday.

The year-long study found that around 40%of pupils in Grades eight to 10 smoked cigarettes, 35% drank alcohol, and 35% smoked dagga.

The findings formed part of a survey of around 20 000 pupils at 240 schools by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The provincial government and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime commissioned the research to get "reliable information on the prevalence of alcohol and other drug use, mental health problems, and risky behaviours", to guide appropriate interventions.

The research revealed that 66% of pupils had consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime.

Around 37% of pupils surveyed started using tobacco before the age of 13. Twenty-eight percent of pupils started drinking before this age and 13.7% started smoking dagga before they were 13-years-old.

Regarding risky behaviour among the sexually active, three out of five pupils admitted to having unprotected sex.

A quarter admitted to having sex after alcohol or drugs, and a fifth to having multiple partners.

Many had witnessed a criminal act within 12 months of being surveyed.

Around 60 percent of pupils reported having seen someone using drugs or someone being beaten.

Just under half had witnessed drugs being sold. Forty percent of pupils had witnessed someone being stabbed.

The survey found that the risk of mental health problems was high, particularly among female pupils.

The MRC suggested that more recreational services were needed, if the link between substance use, other problem behaviour, and leisure-time boredom was considered.

Government was also encouraged to promote the training of school teachers and counsellors on the early identification of drug use.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education

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