Young Generation and Drugs

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20% of teenagers say their mates pretend to take drugs, according to new research by the free and confidential drugs helpline, FRANK

Almost half of UK teenagers (49%) say the need to fit in with their 'tribe' dictates their group's behaviour, according to new research by FRANK, the free and confidential drugs helpline, with a fifth of teens claiming that peer pressure leads their friends to pretend to take drugs to look 'cool'.

The FRANK report asked over 1,000 11-18 year olds across the UK about their tribe, and the ways in which they present themselves as part of the group, from their music tastes, dress sense and hairstyles to their attitudes to drugs. The research uses data from youth experts, dubit to identify ten current leading teen tribes in the UK; Academics/Geeks, Gangstas, Goths, Indies, Moshers, Scallies, Skaters, Sporties, Townies and Trendies.

The research shows that so-called 'presentation' tactics are used by all members of teenage tribes. Dr. Peter Marsh, Director at the Social Issues Research Centre, and co-author of the FRANK report, says:

"Like their tribal ancestors, teenagers today learn to understand who they are by defining themselves through social bonds and affiliations with a peer group. As they make the hormone-laden journey from child to adult, they forge a personal identity by first creating a social identity. Music tastes and appearance are the obvious ways to define oneself, but the ways in which young people talk about themselves to their peers also helps them to create a sense of self. To be an individual, we first need to be one of the lads or lasses."

Key findings of the research include:

Boys are twice as likely as girls to say that they have taken drugs when they have not 17% of 11-13 year-olds, 21% of 14-16 year olds and 22% of over-16 year olds think their friends pretend to have taken drugs when they haven't The influence of the tribe decreases as teens grow up: 51.5% of 11-13 year olds said that...
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