Patterns of young people’s drug and alcohol use often change, so services need to be flexible and respond effectively to changing needs. While cannabis and alcohol are the most common substances that young people said they have a problem with, a very small minority will present with class A drug problems (such as heroin and cocaine). Organisations working with young people should be prepared to deal with all substances, including tobacco and increasingly new psychoactive substances (NPS).
Prevalence data for trends in alcohol, drug and tobacco use among young people from the ‘Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England’ survey shows a whole population decrease in the prevalence of drug, alcohol and tobacco use among school pupils aged 11 to 15. The survey also finds that young people who truant or have been excluded from school are much more likely to have experimented with substances including tobacco.
Our information shows that during the first 9 months of 2015/16, 39 young people had accessed treatment. Most young people who accessed services used cannabis. As Wokingham’s figures are very low, small changes can have a disproportionate impact on percentages so these have not been used in this section of the JSNA.
Numbers in treatment have significantly improved recently and the Drug And Alcohol Team continues to work in close partnership with the Youth Offending Service and Targeted Youth Service to ensure that its service continues to better meet the needs of young people in Wokingham.
Legal highs are emerging as a trend, although not to the same extent as experienced in some neighbouring boroughs.