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Parents greatest influence on whether youths take drugs: NCADA

A survey has shown that parents have the greatest influence (96.5 per cent) on youths not taking drugs, even though less than half of them talk to their parents about drugs.

SINGAPORE: A survey has shown that parents have the greatest influence (96.5 per cent) on youths not taking drugs, even though less than half of them talk to their parents about drugs.

The Youth Perception Survey was commissioned by the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA), which covered more than 2,000 youths aged 13 to 21 in Singapore.

NCADA last did the survey in 2009, but only secondary school students were polled on that occasion.

Another key finding was that a small percentage of youths had liberal attitudes towards drugs -- 4.4 per cent of youths were more open to trying drugs for a new experience, while 8 per cent said they would try drugs if it was not illegal.

They were aged between 17 and 21, and were out of school.

Victor Lye, NCADA chairman, said that the council will need to work with MINDEF to engage males aged 19 and above on the topic of drug abuse

He added that NCADA also works with nightspots and places where youths gather to engage them on the dangers of drugs. 

The survey also found that about two in three youths participated in at least one preventive drug education (PDE) programme.

They were generally receptive towards such initiatives, and said large scale talks and exhibitions were the most effective.

Youths also gave suggestions for future PDE programmes, which include having more engaging talks, or listening to the experiences of ex-offenders.

NCADA said it will rely heavily on research before it formulates its future drug prevention programmes.

The Youth Perception Survey will be held once every two years from now on.

Researchers will also look into issues such as accessibility to drugs as well as new drugs on the market, as the council tracks the evolving drug landscape both overseas and locally. 

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