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Teenagers missing drug advice sessions

PUBLISHED: 10:30 20 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:43 01 August 2010

ONLY one third of Suffolk teenagers have access to effective drug awareness sessions, new research has shown.

NORCAS, the region's largest drug help and advice charity, has today published new findings which show the importance of its drug awareness work with young people in Suffolk.

ONLY one third of Suffolk teenagers have access to effective drug awareness sessions, new research has shown.

NORCAS, the region's largest drug help and advice charity, has today published new findings which show the importance of its drug awareness work with young people in Suffolk.

The research, which has been conducted with more than 1,000 teenagers in the county, shows that while drug information sessions are effective, they are currently only reaching about a third of the county's young people.

More than half of the young people surveyed who use illegal drugs said that they would like to stop, and more teenagers reported negative effects of drug taking than those reporting positive effects.

However, 80pc of the teenagers who have used drugs said that the drugs had at least one positive effect and 16pc, mostly younger users, said that drugs make life more fun.

The new research has also shown that drug use takes hold more quickly among young men, and that teenage boys often use drugs for a longer period than young women.

Maggie Williams, chief executive of NORCAS, said that increased awareness is vital to tackle drug use.

She said: “These new findings emphasise how important it is that we raise awareness and explore the issues surrounding drugs and drug-taking with young people.

“Knowledge is power and we believe it is key to tackling youth drug-taking, either by prevention or to help young people to stop before addictive behaviour takes hold.”

She added: “The fact that a majority of young people who use illegal drugs would like to stop means it is vital that there is good knowledge of agencies, such as NORCAS, who can help.”

The charity's report, called Young People and Drugs Research 2009, will be presented at NORCAS' youth service conference at Ipswich Town football club today.

For more information about NORCAS and drug awareness, visit www.norcas.org.uk

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