Anti-drug campaigns wide of mark: survey

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2008, 12:00am

Four in 10 young people in Hong Kong admit they know little about psychotropic drugs, while more than 60 per cent doubt the effectiveness of anti-drug campaigns.

Inviting celebrities to promote anti-drug messages - one of the most widely used publicity techniques - is viewed as the least effective measure in the eyes of young people who responded to a survey.

For the study, conducted by the Federation of Youth Groups, 532 people aged between 10 and 24 were interviewed in the past two months.

Nearly 30 per cent thought the impact of psychotropic substances or 'soft drugs' was less serious than that of 'hard drugs' such as heroin. About 7 per cent said they would not outright reject taking psychotropic drugs if tempted by friends.

Parental influence was seen as the most important in prevention of drug use, despite 62.6 per cent of interviewees saying their parents had never discussed the issue with them.

Most respondents said anti-drug messages were most effective when conveyed by former drug users. They also wanted to learn about the impact of drugs on their health.

Federation executive director Rosanna Wong Yick-ming said more work should be done on the prevention of drug abuse.

She said the government's Central Registry of Drug Abuse only received reports from abusers voluntarily, while a city-wide assessment was only run every four years.

'A comprehensive survey should be completed every two years to keep track of drug-abuse trends and establish more accurate anti-narcotics campaigns for teenagers,' Ms Wong said.

Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said a big anti-drug campaign would be launched in June.

An inter-departmental taskforce on youth drug use, led by justice chief Wong Yan-lung, had also devised a series of short- and medium-term measures.

Missed message

532 people aged 10 to 24 were interviewed over the past two months

The proportion who think celebrities are effective at promoting the anti-drug message: 39.5%