National Council Against Drug Abuse Youth Perception Survey 2013

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2 Part 6 Articles of Interest National Council Against Drug Abuse Youth Perception Survey 2013 Introduction The National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) was formed in January 1995 as an advisory council to the Minister and the Ministry of Home Affairs on policies and measures necessary to curb drug abuse in Singapore and to mobilise and sustain public support for the anti-drug programmes undertaken by government departments and voluntary organisations. Together with the Home Team departments, relevant agencies and community partners, NCADA organises and coordinates anti-drug activities as well as assists other organisations, institutions, bodies and persons who are interested in tackling the drug problem. NCADA also aims to promote preventive drug education programmes to educate the public on the drug menace and rally them in support of the government s efforts against drug abuse. Commissioning of survey As part of its strategy planning, NCADA commissioned Research Plus Pte Ltd to conduct a survey in 2013 to learn about youths perception and attitudes towards drugs, drug taking and our drug laws. This was the second time NCADA is doing such a survey. The first survey was conducted in 2009 and NCADA had only surveyed secondary school students then. The 2013 survey involved 2,075 youths aged between 13 and 21 from secondary schools, JCs, ITE, polytechnics as well as out-of-school youths (or OSYs in short). It was conducted in two phases an interviewer administered questionnaire followed by paired in-depth interviews. Perceptions and attitudes towards drug taking Youths generally perceived drugs and drug use negatively. As shown in Figure 1, when respondents were asked to choose one statement which came to their mind when they thought of the word drug, the most common response was an illegal substance, followed by "substance that can be addictive", followed by substance that can change the functions of the mind and body. Figure 1

3 Part 6 Articles of Interest National Council Against Drug Abuse Youth Drug Perception Survey 2013 Figure 2 show the breakdown by youth category. Out-of-School Youths (OSYs) were less likely to associate drug as a substance that could be addictive (the 2nd statement) but were more likely to choose others, describing drugs as a substance to get high, fun thing or substance that caused hallucination. Figure 2

4 National Council Against Drug Abuse Youth Drug Perception Survey 2013 Part 6 Articles of Interest Overall, respondents had desirable attitudes towards drugs as shown in Figure 3. They understood the harmfulness of drugs. Although majority of the youths had a negative connotation of drugs, there are some warning trends. Firstly, respondents were more likely to agree with the statement It is impossible to become addicted to drugs like ecstasy, compared to The responses to the second statement If I am taking drugs, I don t mind if my friends/parents know about it show that youths are open to communicating possible drug-taking behaviour to their parents and friends. Another observation is that 10.9% of the youths surveyed disagreed with the last statement I believe taking drugs would harm one s health. A breakdown of the responses by youth groups for the statement I would be able to resist peer pressure shows that the mean scores for secondary school and OSYs are significantly lower than those for polytechnic, JC and ITE. This shows that secondary school students and OSYs are less confident in resisting peer pressure. Figure 3

5 Sources of information When respondents were asked to select all applicable sources from which they had obtained information about drugs and drug abuse, TV, talks and Websites were the most commonly cited as shown in Figure 4. During the in-depth interviews, the most frequently cited information channel was school (through campaigns, talks, activities held in school), followed by broadcast media and the Internet (i.e. Google/ Wikipedia/ YouTube). For those who mentioned broadcast media, they mainly learned about drugs through TV shows or advertisements. The Internet was cited by most as the preferred primary source of information, and most of them prefer to go to the Internet to do their own research. They felt that it was the most accessible and easiest way to obtain information. When asked about the sources that they would turn to if they had any drug-related questions, family, teachers and counsellors were the most commonly cited. Two in five surveyed would look for their teachers and counsellors for information. Hence, teachers and counsellors are strong influencers in dissuading youths from experimenting with drugs. Figure 4

6 Less than half of the respondents had conversations with their parents on drugs and drug abuse. However, among those whose parents had spoken to them, more than 96% of the youths felt that the conversation had deterred them from taking drugs. This shows that parents play an important role in deterring youths from taking drugs. All of the ITE youths who have had conversations with their parents were deterred from taking drugs. In this, the OSYs fared the least well, with 14.3% not finding the conversations a deterrent please see the comparison table at the bottom right of Figure 5. When asked during the in-depth interviews, it was noted that some parents would start the conversation when they come across any drug-related programme/ news, for example Crime Watch. A few also mentioned that their parents would simply tell them not to take drugs. Similar to the survey findings, majority felt that conversations with their parents would deter them from taking drugs to some degree. Figure 5

7 Part 6 Articles of Interest National Council Against Drug Abuse Youth Drug Perception Survey 2013 Perceptions & support towards anti-drug policies in singapore As shown in Figure 6, youths are generally supportive of the drug laws and anti-drug policies in Singapore as a majority of them agreed that the Singapore law on drugs is effective in controlling the local drug situation. While the sense is that youths are generally supportive, 15% of the respondents in the quantitative survey section agreed to the statement I think some drugs should not be illegal. When comparing the mean scores, the mean scores for polytechnic, JC and ITE are significantly higher than that of the secondary schools. This indicates a more liberal attitude towards drugs, particularly among the older youths in Polytechnic and ITE. Figure 6

8 National Council Against Drug Abuse Youth Drug Perception Survey 2013 Part 6 Articles of Interest Participation in anti-drug events/programmes Respondents were shown a list of preventive drug education programmes by NCADA and CNB. About 2/3 of the respondents have participated in at least one anti-drug programme, and the majority of these respondents found the respective programme to be effective in helping them understand more about drugs and drug abuse as shown in Figure 7. Figure 7

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