Public Release: 

Substantial numbers of schoolchildren in Scotland carry weapons


Association between illegal drugs and weapon carrying in young people in Scotland: schools' survey

Substantial numbers of schoolchildren in Scotland carry weapons, finds a schools survey published in this week's BMJ. Weapon carrying was strongly linked to the use of illegal drugs, the survey showed.

To investigate whether there was a link between illegal drugs and weapon carrying, McKeganey and Norrie, of the Centre for Drug Misuse Research and the Robertson Centre for Biostatistics, at the University of Glasgow, surveyed over 3000 students from 20 schools across Scotland. The students were aged from 11 to 16 years old.

Over a third of the boys and one in 12 of the girls surveyed said that they had carried a weapon; almost four out of ten 13 to 15 year old boys reported having done so. Boys who took illegal drugs were over three times as likely, and girls over five times as likely, to carry weapons as their non-drug taking peers. The more drugs that were used, the greater was the link with weapon carrying. Almost all the boys who took five or more different drugs reported carrying weapons, compared with around one in two who took one drug. Types of weapon carried included flick and Stanley knives, machetes, razors, baseball bats, and hammers.



Professor Neil McKeganey, Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow, Scotland Email:

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