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Bermuda children experimenting with alcohol and drugs - survey

Published:Sunday | March 3, 2013 | 12:10 PM

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Mar 3, CMC - A new survey has found that children as young as seven have experimented with drugs and alcohol in Bermuda.

According to the “Report of the Survey of Student’s Knowledge and Attitudes of Drugs and Health 2012”, one-third of Primary 5, Primary 6 and Middle 1 students had tried drugs, cigarettes or alcohol.

Some students admitted trying alcohol at the age of six and marijuana at seven.

A total of 1,106 students aged between nine and 11 participated in the survey, representing 23 public, two private and five home schools.

The report said 279 of the students surveyed admitted trying alcohol, while 38 students said they currently use alcohol.

One hundred and sixty nine students reported trying inhalants, while 41 students said they currently use them.

Marijuana and cigarette use was less common, with 3.4 per cent saying they had tried marijuana and 3.1 per cent saying they had tried cigarettes.

Students who had experimented with the drugs on average tried inhalants at 7.6 years old, cigarettes at 7.7 years old, alcohol at 7.8 years old and marijuana at 8.3 years old.

The report concluded: “The survey results demonstrated the need for more education with students at an earlier age than traditionally provided.

Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley said the survey was intended to gain information not only about the prevalence of drug use among the island’s students, but understand what they know or think about drugs.

“While there are some areas of concern, I am encouraged that our children, for the most part, have not reported to be regularly using harmful, illegal substances.

“With the continued guidance of parents, family, teachers and public awareness campaigns, I am confident that our students can be lead on a path that continues them away from harmful alcohol and drug abuse habits,” he said.