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It is difficult to be precise about the prevalence rates among children and young people as much of the available information is self-reported. Studies reveal that there has been a reduction is alcohol and substance use by young poeople but also that the gender divide has closed: Cigarette smoking has been found to be more common among girls than boys and whilst the use of alcohol and cigarettes in young people in general has remained relatively stable drug use has fallen. Whilst use during adolescence is not usually problem use, it can lead to noticeable problems in the future. 
Be involved in road traffic or other accidents 
Be involved in crime (including murder either as victims or perpetrators) 
Engage in deliberate self harm or suicidal behaviour 
Have co-existing mental health problems 
Contract STIs and other infections 
Be homeless 
Be at increased risk of criminal and sexual exploitation 
Have their psychological and emotinal development impaired 

Drug and Substance use can increase a young person's vulnerability to violence, criminal exploitation and sexual exploitation by individuals, gangs and Organised Crime Groups 

Substance Misuse 

People are most likely to begin abusing drugs —including tobacco, alcohol, and illegal and prescription drugs — during adolescence and young adulthood. There are many reasons adolescents use these substances, including the desire for new experiences, an attempt to deal with problems or perform better in school, and simple peer pressure. 
A range of factors influence whether young people use drugs e.g: the availability of drugs within the neighborhood, community, and school and whether the adolescent’s friends are using them. The family environment is also important: Violence, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, or drug use in the household increase the likelihood an adolescent will use drugs or other substances. In addition, young person's inherited genetic vulnerability; personality traits like poor impulse control or a high need for excitement; mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD; and beliefs such as that drugs are “cool” or harmless make it more likely that an adolescent will use drugs. 

Risk Factors 

Access and drug availability 
Peer influence and social acceptance 
Social status (any marginalised group may be at increased risk) 
Poor community networks 
Psychiatric co-morbidity (depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, psychosis and ADHD) 
Genetic / biological predisposition 
Psychological factors such as personality characteristics, ability to cope 
Chaotic Families 
Familieis with mental health problemsFamilies that have a substance misuse history 
How the family handles adolescence and the issues that it brings 
Families with relationship problems 

Activity: View "Stacey Dooley Investigates: Kids Selling Drugs Online". Warning This Video Contains Some Strong Language 

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