Hello and welcome to The Teens' Speech blog. A place dedicated to discussing issues of significance to young people in particular and the nation as a whole.
The Teens' Speech


On Christmas Day this year, teenage Britain delivered its own message to the nation. Find out more

We asked our friends how often they took drugs

Every day we are running a quick and very dirty poll on MySpace, designed to be thought-provoking, conversation-starting and a little bit revealing.

Last week, we asked visitors to MySpace how often they took drugs. Out of a poll sample of 200 people, 43% claimed to be entirely drug free, a noteworthy 57% polled that they had taken drugs at least once or twice a year and over 14% revealed they took drugs on a daily basis.

Of course, this poll is not scientific - but, it does reflect that drugs-related issues are a big concern to teenagers. They are feeling an unprecedented level of stress - about school, fitting in, looking good and being liked.

Clearly, drinking and taking drugs are an easy, readily available and highly effective means of relieving the pressure.

If you're aged 13-19 and want to get involved in The Teens' Speech - by answering polls, uploading a video or just adding a comment - visit our MySpace page or YouTube channel.

Good to talk

James is 19 and from Scotland. In this video, he calmly and clearly argues for the legalisation of all illegal substances and a social policy that leads to the creation of a just and equal society.

What I personally take away from this video is how constructive it is. It's not reactionary or couched in fear. Agree with it or not, the views expressed are done in a way that is unafraid to engage in pragmatic discussion about the endemic use of drugs in society, its root cause and how we make things better.

When we think about the recent silencing of David Nutt and his colleagues by the Home Office, a clip like this begs the question, what is the government so afraid of?

Ain't nothing going on but the 'rents

If we're wondering why the next generation appear to be turning to drink and drugs to alleviate stress and depression, we need to be looking a little closer to home than Lily Allen. Try Mum and Dad.

British teenagers are more likely to binge drink, take drugs regularly, be stressed, depressed and have unprotected, underage sex. But do we know why?

Research published by The Girl Guides Association last week revealed that a third of girls aged 11 to 16 and 58 per cent of 16-21 year olds admit to drinking so much that they have been sick or lost control.

The authors went on to suggest that young celebrities, such as the singers Lily Allen and Sarah Harding, have helped create a culture of underage drinking for teenage girls.

But, is this really the case, or is it an example of convenient scapegoating?

How can we foist the blame for a nation of young boozers on the shoulders of a young, creative and independent woman like Lily Allen? Surely, the real cause of teenage drinking and drug taking - by boys and girls - lies in the more fundamental relationship between parent and child?

The reality is that it's not just teenagers who have a problem with drink and drugs. We all do.

This country has a love affair with alcohol that doesn't appear to be ending any time soon – two thirds of adults drink at least once a week and the government estimates that 10 million people exceed daily limit guidelines.

And lets not forget that 99.9% of the two billion notes currently in circulation have come into contact with cocaine.

In a report published last month, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said children learn bad drinking habits from their parents. It went on to say that the most effective method of stopping young people from binge drinking was for family members to show them how to drink responsibly.

If we want our young people to stop partaking in drink and drugs , maybe we have to start partaking a little more responsibly ourselves.