In Autumn 2007 we asked you to reveal your thoughts on addictive substances and behaviours. The survey gave us an insight into the ways alcohol consumption, smoking, drug use and gambling affect your lives.
- 1,447 people aged 16 - 25 participated in the survey;
- All major areas of the UK were represented;
- 52% of respondents were male.
Booze and you
75% of you drink alcohol at least once a month. Per drinking session, half (48%) claim to sink at least six drinks while a quarter consume a minimum of eight. Bearing in mind that half a pint of beer or small glass of wine equals 1.5 units, and a single measure of spirits equals one unit, many of you would be classified as binge drinkers under the definition given by the government (six to eight units for a man and four to six units for a woman in one sitting).
Main motivations to drink
- To relax (67%);
- To put me in a better mood (54%);
- To get drunk (43%);
- To make me feel more attractive (38%).
What are you like when you drink?
67% say you feel more comfortable in social situations, or can be more 'yourself' when you've had a drink, although a quarter (26%) say you wouldn't drink if your friends didn't. Over half (55%) can't remember things you've done when you've been drinking, and 17% often get depressed when you drink. A third (32%) also claim your romantic relationships have been negatively affected at some point by your drinking, and relationships with friends and parents have been affected too (28% and 26% respectively).
Over a quarter (27%) say that a friend or family member has expressed concern about your drinking habits, but only 11% of those have sought advice on the matter. Meanwhile, 17% believe the UK's minimum legal drinking age should be raised from 18 to 21.
38% smoke cigarettes at least once a month, and 42% say that most of your friends do too. 39% say you smoke because you're addicted, and 40% because you simply enjoy it. Over half (56%) of smokers have tried to give up in the past, and 12% who haven't tried would like to quit in future. Although half (52%) say the smoking ban has made no difference to the amount you smoke, a third (33%) say you smoke less than you did beforehand. Of those who have used smoking-related advice on TheSite.org, 92% have found it useful.
One in five (20%) claim to use drugs at least once a month. Of these respondents, 92% have used cannabis at least once before, with 50% using it at least once a week. The next most popular drugs are ecstasy and cocaine, both used by 27% of drug users at least once a month. 60% of drug users claim to take drugs recreationally only, but 31% say that drugs have had a negative impact on some aspect of your life, including mental health (18%), romantic relationships (16%) and academic studies (13%). A quarter of you have checked out TheSite.org's drugs-related advice and the vast majority (88%) have found it useful.
One in 10 (9%) say you gamble at least once a month, and 59% of gamblers do so for fun and only bet what you can afford. However, a fifth (21%) say you sometimes get carried away. 14% gamble because you 'need the money', and 7% have had financial problems due to gambling. 27% spend more than £50 a month on gambling, and 8% more than £1000. A third (32%) say advertising has influenced your gambling behaviour.
The best place to go for advice on giving up gambling (as mentioned by gamblers)
- A support group;
- The internet;
- A specialist clinic.