Nearly 80 percent of a group of surveyed Gauteng high school pupils regularly consume alcohol, according to findings released by the Bureau for Market Research (BMR) on Sunday.
Of the 4346 pupils in grades eight to 12 who were quizzed, 66.6 percent said they had been drunk, 44.8 percent had done "binge drinking" and 79.4 percent regularly consumed alcohol, according to the survey by the bureau, which is part of Unisa.
According to Antoinette Basson in the BMR's youth research unit (YRU), the study was motivated by the need for contemporary information on the subject, which she said placed an enormous burden on South African society.
"The YRU research study identified that learners often find themselves in an environment where illicit drugs and alcohol are easily accessible and used by their peers, which make resistance very difficult," the BMR said.
Pupils said they were using the substances for stress relief and recreation.
Almost three in every 10 pupils -- 26.9 percent -- who participated in the study said they use illicit drugs, with dagga the most popular. A total of 95.4 percent of the drug users said they used it.
Cigarette smoking and hubbly bubblies were becoming more popular among secondary school pupils, particularly girls, and were not associated with the negative consequences of tobacco smoking.
More than half of the pupils surveyed (53.8 percent) said they trust their parents for advice on drug use and alcohol consumption.