Last night I was watching TV and saw a news advertisement about young people and drug use. Over the top of an image or a group of young people was superimposed the words One third of all young people have used an illegal drug. That statistic sounds pretty scary for parents, and it is – there can be devastating consequences when anybody uses and illegal drug, and of course those risks are often greater for a young person. But why must we always be pushing the negative message when it comes to the issue? Wouldn’t it be more powerful and positive to present the same image with a statement saying that two thirds of young people haven’t used an illegal drug?

No one should stick their head in the sand and pretend that there isn’t a problem. When it comes to alcohol, it would be true to say that most young people will experiment with it at some time during their adolescence. However, the same cannot be said for illegal drugs, particularly when we’re talking about teenagers. Most young people have never tried illegal drugs, they have no interest in these substance and they never will. Study after study confirms this, yet try to get this fact reported in the media and you hit a brick wall.

Interestingly, you often hit that very same brick wall when you speak to the teenagers themselves…

Writer Paul Dillon, Generation Next speaker and drug and alcohol expert. Excerpt from “Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs”. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.