While Addiction Increases for Adults, Youth Experimentation Decreases in Ireland

Compared to 25 other countries in the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children study by the Health Promotion Research Center, according to The Times UK, Irish schoolchildren have significantly healthier lifestyles. Nearly 75% of Irish children reported liking school, though 43% reported feeling high amounts of pressure from their school work. 50,000 students between the ages of 10 and 17 were surveyed by NUI Galway for the study.

Other numbers produced by the study showed equal promise of Ireland’s youth, despite growing problems among Ireland’s adults. As adults face higher numbers of addiction, alcoholism, and poor mental health, the resiliency of Ireland’s youth proves to be strong. Though there were increases in the amount of headaches experienced by Ireland’s youth, there were other improvements:

  • Children are more likely to eat fruit

  • Children are more likely to brush their teeth more than once a day

  • The number of children who wear a seatbelt in the car has doubled since 2014

  • Only 8.3 percent of children reported smoking, compared to 22.6 percent in 1998

  • Also compared to 1998, 35 percent of children smoked their first cigarette before the age of 13, compared to 61 percent

  • Cannabis was used by 7.7 percent of children compared to 12.3 percent in earlier years

  • Under a third of children had their first alcoholic beverage before 13 compared to under half

  • Just 21 percent of school aged children admitted to being drunk at least once compared to 33 percent

What is the gap between thriving Irish children and their adult counterparts? There are new laws in Ireland which have minimized the ability for children to purchase drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Additionally, cigarette smoking has become less of a social activity in Ireland than it has been in decades. What children today aren’t facing is the reach of the opioid epidemic. Watching the struggles of their adult counterparts, children may be less inclined to experiment with drugs and alcohol, typically considered a juvenile rite of passage. As a country which leads both EU and global statistics for drug consumption, the Irish youth are tasked with adopting a culture built on substance abuse, then trying to make the most of it. We can hope that they continue to make good choices as they mature into adults and the future of Ireland.


Smarmore Castle Private Clinic continues to provide quality care and therapeutic services for treating drug and alcohol addiction in Ireland. Clinical and complementary therapies help each client optimize their mental health while gaining important skills for abstinence. For information, call us today at +353 41 214 5111.

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