Children and harmful or illegal substances

Friends play in the street of a poor neighbourhood in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Across all countries polled, two thirds of all children (boys more than girls) say they have friends or acquaintances their own age who have tried or used harmful or illegal substances, mainly tobacco and alcohol.

One third of children say they have friends or acquaintances their age who have had an addiction problem with at least one harmful or illegal substance, most often tobacco followed by alcohol, illegal drugs and inhalants.

While addiction to tobacco, and alcohol is more common transition countries (38% tobacco and 12% alcohol) than Western Europe (25% tobacco and 6% alcohol), twice as many respondents in the Western Europe (14%) than transition countries (7%) know someone addicted to illegal drugs.

All forms of substance use and abuse are more common among older children and those from urban areas. Those from the highest socio-economic groups are more likely to know someone who has tried or been addicted to tobacco, alcohol, inhalants or illegal drugs.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• Have my peers tried or been addicted to?…(by age group) [view]
• Have my peers tried or been addicted to?...
(by gender, area, EU accession or socio-economic group)
• Have my peers tried or been addicted to tobacco?…(by detailed region) [view]
• Have my peers tried or been addicted to alcohol?…(by detailed region) [view]
• Have my peers tried or been addicted to illegal drugs?…(by detailed region) [view]

This information is provided as a contribution to discussion on important issues affecting children. UNICEF Regional offices conducted the polls, analysis and interpretations of the findings. For more information, please contact the regional poll contact person directly.

About the survey
How happy children are
How children feel at home
How children feel at school
How children feel in today's society
How safe children feel
Children and harmful or illegal substances
How informed children are
Children's views on government and politics
How children see the future