Comiskey, Catherine M.
Young People, Drug Use and Early School Leaving: estimating the
prevalence, assessing the impact and assisting policy and planning.
Drugs: education, prevention and policy, 10 (2).
This paper provides the first estimates of recorded and hidden prevalence of opiate
use among young people in Dublin. It explores the nature of other drugs used and their effect on
the decision to leave school early. The author implements the first multisource enumeration of
opiate use in young people in Dublin in 1996 and 1997. Hidden prevalence is estimated by the
capture–recapture methodology. The nature of other drugs used was examined by surveying
early school leavers. A minimum of 1528 young people aged between 10 and 20 years were
identified as using opiates through three 1996 data sources. Using three samples it was
estimated that 4081 (95% CI of 3586–4692) were using opiates in Dublin in 1996. Using two
samples it was estimated that 1141 (95% confidence interval (CI) of 901–1381) of these were
problematic users. Using the two-sample method it was estimated that this rose to 1315
problematic users in 1997. It was found that 51.1% of those surveyed had tried using drugs
before they had left school and 46.5% noted that this use had affected them while they attended
school. The implications for policy of the size of the opiate problem among young people of
school age is considerable.
||This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Drugs:
education, prevention and policy following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version
[Comiskey C (2003) Young people, drug use and early school leaving: estimating the prevalence,
assessing the impact and assisting policy and planning, Drugs: education, prevention and policy, 10(2),
159–168] is available online at
This research was partly supported by a grant from The Research and Development Committee
of the Irish Government’s Department of Education and Science.
||Adolescent Drug Use; Early School Leaving; Opiate use; Young People;
||Faculty of Science and Engineering > Mathematics and Statistics
Dr. Catherine Comiskey
||19 Jul 2011 15:42
|Journal or Publication Title:
||Drugs: education, prevention and policy
||Taylor & Francis
||Research and Development Committee of the Irish Government’s Department of Education and Science
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