– The County Board has received signals that mainly cannabis has increased among young people, both nationally and in Norrbotten. One thing to worry about is that the more people who test, the more will continue, says Mats Jakobsson.
Surveys of young people’s drug habits have previously been conducted at both national and municipal levels. These have not been sufficiently comprehensive, profound or standardized for conclusions to be drawn on the behalf of Norrbotten.
Therefore wanted the County Board a drug investigation that can create an overall picture of our county – and let the data form a basis for future research. Because of this, was Mats Jakobsson contacted, due to his extensive experience of working with surveys based on quantitative sociology.
School personnel distributed the survey to all high school students in Norrbotten. Of the 8300 questionnaires were 5800 answered, giving a response rate of 75 per cent – a very high number according to Mats Jakobsson.
– It gives us a relatively safe foundation which allows us to express an opinion based on reality, says Mats Jakobsson.
Ignorance and liberal attitude gateway to drugs
The survey shows that those who are least likely to try drugs, with a risk of only two per cent, is a girl who comes from eastern Norrbotten, lives with her parents, has experienced security and good economic conditions and is in grades one on a theoretical education. She has extensive knowledge of, and a restrictive attitude towards, drugs.
The greatest risk with a probability of 84 per cent has a guy who lives in Luleå, Boden, Piteå or Älvsbyn in his own apartment, has experienced insecurity and deteriorating economic conditions and is in year three of an vocational education. He has limited knowledge about drugs and a liberal attitude.
– The less you know, the more liberal attitude and the greater probability of testing. If you do the same calculation, but changes to a restrictive attitude reduces the probability to 34 per cent. This suggests that if you can work with knowledge issues in a way that the adult world does not come with directions, but lets norms and values be generated in the youth generation, this figure may be reduced.
Taking research to the teaching
Mats Jakobsson hopes the study will be repeated in the future, which could identify changes in knowledge and attitude issues.
– That should give a pretty good picture of the current situation, such as how the effects of prevention efforts in high school affect young people in secondary schools.
As a continuation and deepening of the study, the sociology students in grades two will get to go out to each municipality to interview young people about their thoughts and attitudes towards drugs. The results are then presented to the police, social services, County Board and various drug prevention networks. This is one of many examples of how research is integrated with education. Mats Jakobsson has previously conducted similar studies with students in the sociology program at LTU.
LTU – Luleå University of Technology