The much-awaited preliminary results of the 2014 Australian Secondary Students Alcohol and Drug Survey have been released, for SA secondary school students. So, are we continuing to see positive trends in SA secondary students alcohol and other drug use? Are more choosing not to use?
The answer is yes. More SA secondary school students are making the choice not to drink alcohol. Yes, that is right. Since 2011, there had been a further decrease in the proportion of students who had ever used alcohol, from 78% to 68%. The great news is we also see the proportion of students who had consumed alcohol in the previous week decrease from 15% in 2011 to 10% in 2014.
SA secondary school students are making great choices
The most significant decrease in lifetime alcohol use was for those SA secondary school students 12-15 years of age. In 2011, 72% said they had used alcohol in their lifetime, but this decreased to 60% in 2014. This certainly challenges the belief that today’s generation are drinking earlier and earlier.
SA secondary school students aged 16-17 years were more likely to have recently used alcohol than those aged 12-15 years eg. 21% of 16-17 year olds had used alcohol in the last week compared to 5% of 12-15 year olds. The positive news is in 2011, 28% of 16-17 year olds had used alcohol in the last week, which means there has been a 7% reduction in recent drinking for this group of young people who are approaching 18 years of age.
Whilst there were changes to the consent procedure for students to take part in the study, there is no doubt this is positive news. Encounter Youth has spoken to over 15,000 young people in 2015, and we continue to hear about the great choices they’re making to look after themselves and their mates. We know one way SA secondary school students are doing this is to either make the choice not to drink or at least think about how much they’re drinking.
This study confirms we need to have a belief in SA secondary school students and all other young people across Australia. We believe that the more we encourage those who are making the great choices, the more we will see young people celebrating positively, having a great time and getting home safely.