PART 3: CHILDREN'S OUTCOMES - SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL

Drug Use

Problems associated with substance use cover a broad spectrum that include significant health consequences, social and family disruption, and economic issues. 42

Measure

The proportion of children aged 10-17 who report having taken cannabis at least once in their lifetime.

Key findings

  • In 2006, 15.7% of children aged 10-17 reported that they have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime (see Table 69).

Table 69: Percentage of children who report having taken cannabis at least once in their lifetime,
by gender, age and social class (2002 and 2006)

    2002     2006  
  Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total
Total 14.6 10.2 12.1 18.1 13.2 15.7
Age            
10-11 years 1.4 0.3 0.8 1.5 0.1 0.7
12-14 years 6.7 4.0 5.2 10.1 6.4 8.3
15-17 years 32.3 21.7 25.9 31.3 26.4 29.0
Social class            
SC 1-2 14.2 9.3 11.3 16.6 12.1 14.5
SC 3-4 14.1 10.9 12.2 16.8 13.6 15.2
SC 5-6 15.8 12.2 13.4 17.5 13.1 15.2

Source: HBSC Survey

Differences by gender, age and social class

  • The percentage of children who reported that they have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime is relatively stable across social class (see Table 69).
  • The percentage of children aged 10-17 who reported that they have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime is higher among boys and older children:
    • 18.1% of boys, compared to 13.2% of girls;
    • 29% of children aged 15-17, compared to 8.3% of 12-14 year-olds and 0.7% of 10-11 year-olds.

Differences by geographic area

  • Children in the Dublin region are more likely (20.3%) to report to have taken cannabis at least once in their lifetime, while children in the South-West region are least likely (11.9%) to report this (see Table 70).

Table 70: Percentage of children who report having taken cannabis at least
once in their lifetime, by NUTS Region (2006)

  2006
Border 12.9
Midlands 19.5
West 13.5
Dublin 20.3
Mid-East 16.7
Mid-West 16.1
South-East 15.9
South-West 11.9
Overall 15.7

Source: HBSC Survey

International comparisons

  • From the 2006 HBSC Survey, using only those in the 15-year-old age group to draw international comparisons, 23.5% of Irish children reported having ever used cannabis in their lifetime (see Figure 27). This is above the HBSC average of 18.0%.
  • Among all 39 countries and regions that used this HBSC item, the lowest percentage for this indicator was found among children from Romania (3.5%) and the highest among children from Canada (34.5%), followed by Switzerland (32%). Overall, Irish children ranked 12th.

Figure 27: Percentage of children aged 15 who report having taken cannabis at least once in their lifetime, by country (2006)

Technical notes
All data presented are drawn from self-report, self-completion questionnaires completed by children in schools. Thus, they are subject to potential biases in relation to self-presentation and memory. These measures may suffer from social desirability bias.

Percentage differences are presented for descriptive purposes only and may not reflect a statistically significant finding.

Social class (SC) is classified into one of the following groups (introduced in 1996 by the CSO), defined on the basis of occupation:
SC I: Professional
SC 2: Managerial
SC 3: Non-manual
SC 4: Skilled manual
SC 5: Semi-skilled
SC 6: Unskilled

NUTS is an acronym for the EU Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. This classification was legally established by EU Regulation No. 1059/2003 on 29 May 2003. In Ireland, NUTS is classified hierarchically as Level 1 – Ireland; Level 2 – Regions; and Level 3 – Regional Authorities. The 8 Regional Authorities in Ireland (NUTS 3 regions) were established under the Local Government Act, 1991 (see Appendix 2).

Next

42 Godeau, E., Ross, J., François, Y., Marshall, L., Maltby, J., Aszmann, A., Jensen, L., King, M., Nic Gabhainn, S., Rahav, G., Rasmussen, M., Terzidou, M. and Maka, Z. (2001) 'Focus Area Rationale: Risk Behaviour: Substance Use'. In: C. Currie, O. Samdal, W. Boyce and R. Smith (eds.), Health Behaviour in School-aged Children: A World Health Organization Cross-National Study: Research Protocol for the 2001/02 Survey. Edinburgh: Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit, University of Edinburgh.