The Youth Perception Survey was commissioned by NCADA in 2013 and had involved 2,075 youths aged between 13 and 21.
NCADA had shared the findings with the media at a press conference on 13 Feb 2014. The panellists for the press conference were: Mr Victor Lye, Chairman NCADA, A/P Narayanan Ganapathy, Vice-Chairperson of Research Sub-Committee and Ms Allison Lim, Chairperson of Communications Committee. We have also shared the findings with our partners in the anti-drug ecosystem so as to keep them abreast of the youths’ perception towards drug abuse, anti-drug laws in Singapore and the current preventive drug education efforts.
The key findings from the Survey were:
- Parents and teachers continue to be strong influencers in dissuading young people from experimenting with drugs;
- Youths view drugs and drug abuse negatively but older youths are more likely to accept liberal attitudes towards drugs; and
- Current anti-drug laws are effective.
Harnessing the influence of parents and teachers
The Survey found that television remains an important source of information about drugs, with 63.1% of youths surveyed listing the television as a source of information about drugs. However, parents and teachers continue to be effective in dissuading youths from drug abuse. About one in two youths surveyed indicated that they would approach their family, in particular parents, if they had any questions about drugs. Two in five youths surveyed also look to their teachers and counsellors for information.
There are some television programmes that normalise drug abuse. As youths, especially those who are younger, are still highly impressionable, parents and guardians should monitor their media consumption and guide them to evaluate the information which they have obtained from the mass media.
Underscoring the influence parents have, the Survey found that 96.5% of youths whose parents had spoken to them about drugs and drug abuse reported that those conversations have deterred them from taking drugs.
A/P Narayanan Ganapathy, Chairperson of NCADA's Research Sub-Committee said: “There are some television programmes that normalise drug abuse. As youths, especially those who are younger, are still highly impressionable, parents and guardians should monitor their media consumption and guide them to evaluate the information which they have obtained from the mass media.”
He added that as parents and teachers appear to be the first source of information, it was crucial for them to keep informed in matters relating to drug abuse so as to effectively advise youths on drug related matters.
Only 40.6% of all Survey respondents said that they have had conversations with their parents on drugs. A/P Ganapathy urged more parents to initiate conversations with their children about drug abuse and its dangers.