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Survey suggests Aussie teens overestimate their peers’ smoking and drinking habits

Since 2018 more than 5,000 teens across schools in NSW and SA have participated in Life Education’s ‘Reality Now’ pilot program

The program includes a live interactive survey tool completed by students in class which captures their perceptions of their classmates’ behaviours and attitudes about using drugs and alcohol, as well as their own, through a series of anonymous survey questions.

The results are then presented to the students in real-time and aims to prevent drug and alcohol misuse amongst the youth by correcting misperceptions about the attitudes and behaviours of their peers.

Released on World No Tobacco Day, the survey of more than 5,000 students from years 7 – 11 found:

Tobbaco: Perception: Students assumed 60% of their peers were using tobacco at varying levels Reality: 15% of these students actually reported using tobacco

Cannabis: Perception: Over 50% of students thought their peers were using cannabis Reality: More than 86% of students said they have never used cannabis

Alcohol: Perception: Students believed 1 in 5 of their peers were drinking regularly Reality: Only 6% of students reported drinking alcohol

Through real-time data provided by the students’ very own peer group, we hope that students are better equipped to make more informed and healthy decisions. Understanding that only a small portion of their peers engage in these risky behaviours is a powerful tool for young people to dismiss peer pressure and feel more confident in their choices to avoid drugs and alcohol.

Find out more about our partnership with Life Education.

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