FAQs Info and Surveys

Survey Data.

As part of of our research into the scale of the problem of legal highs we carried out an online survey of over 1,000 16-24 year olds. The results show a very worrying combination of high availablity and low knowledge of their harms among young people.

The survey was conducted by online specialist research agency Research Now between October 3 and 8 2012.

The questionnaire contained six questions as follows:
1.    Have any of your friends taken “legal highs”? Yes/No
2.    Would you know where to get “legal highs”? Yes/No
3.    Have you ever been offered “legal highs”? Yes/No
4.    If one of your friends offers you a “legal high”, how likely would you be to try it”? 1-7 scale where 1 is very unlikely and 7 is very likely
5.    How well informed are you about “legal highs”? 4 options: Not at all, a little, fairly well, very well
6.    Please look at the following statement and say how much you agree or disagree with it: “Legal Highs are safer than Illegal drugs” 7 point agree/disagree scale where 1 = disagree strongly and 7 = agree strongly
Profile of respondents
UK wide sample of 1,011 16-24 year olds
Male
48%
Female
52%
16-18
26%
19-21
35%
22-24
39%
Headline findings
 
The survey indicates that 26% of our total sample of 16-24 year olds labours under the delusion that Legal Highs are safer than illegal drugs
These individuals are:
1)    more likely to know friends who have taken them
2)    more likely to know where to get them
3)    more likely to have been offered them
4)    more likely to say they would try them
5)    more likely to think they are informed about them
  

Main data

Q1 Whether friends have taken Legal Highs
Yes: 58%
No: 42%
This demonstrates the prevalence of Legal Highs in UK society .
The “Yes” figure rises to 76% for those who have an above average tendency to agree with the statement “Legal Highs are safer than illegal drugs”.
NB this cohort of people amount to just over a quarter of the total sample (26%) score 5-7 out of 7 where 7 is “agree strongly” that they are safer)
Q2 Know where to get them
Yes: 39%
No: 61%
For those who think they are safer (extending the cohort referred to above to cover those agreeing Legal Highs are safer in the range 4-7 out of 7) the “Yes” figure is higher to a statistically significant degree (48%) and obviously even higher for those who more strongly think they are safer (i.e. score 5-7 on this measure) – 58%.
Q3 Whether been offered
Yes: 45%
No: 55%
Males are slightly more likely to say they have been offered Legal Highs than females (48% vs. 43%) while 16-18 year olds are less likely to say so (38%). However, once again, for those who are more likely to agree Legal Highs are safer than illegal drugs, the likelihood they have been offered Legal Highs rises significantly – 52% among those agreeing they are safer in a range of 4-7 and 60% for those who more strongly agree (range 5-7).
Q4 Likelihood to try
Overall net likely: 29% (score 4-7 out of 7 where 7 is very likely)
Slightly higher for males than females and for 19-21 year olds vs. other age groups though none of these levels is statistically significant. However for the cohort who are more likely to agree Legal Highs are safer than illegal drugs, likelihood to try levels rise to a statistically significant degree: 49% for those agreeing they are safer in the range 4-7 and 57% in the range 5-7.
 
Q5 How well informed
Overall: 33% of respondents say they are fairly/very well informed about Legal Highs.
 
There are some variations at the sub-sample level as follows:
Male
36%
Female
30%
16-18
39%
19-21
34%
22-24
31%
Interestingly, the younger the respondent, the more likely they are to say they are informed.
Ironically, the age group who are least knowledgeable is also the age group that is more likely to say they know where to get them.
Those who are more likely to agree that legal highs are safer than illegal drugs also think themselves better informed vs. the total ample (41%). This may be an important piece of evidence if we are to concentrate on this cohort i.e. those who have a stronger than average likelihood to consider Legal Highs safer than illegal drugs (a mistaken perception) are also more likely to think they are well informed about them (a delusion).
 
Q6 Agree/disagree legal highs are safer than illegal drugs
As already noted, overall 26% agree in range 5-7 out of 7 rising to 44% if we expand the scoring range to 4-7.
 
The only difference in profile at sub-sample level is 19-21 year olds with a directionally higher level of agreement in same range 5-7 (at 29% but NB this is not statistically significant).
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