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Fewer children drink while underage

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Fewer underage children and young people are drinking alcohol, according to a government survey.

The statistics are based on questionnaires completed by 7,831 pupils in 273 English schools in autumn 2007. The pupils involved in the survey were in years 7 to 11 and most were aged 11 to 15.

The number of pupils who have never drunk alcohol was shown to have risen from 39% in 2001 to 46% in 2007. ¬¬

Only 20% of pupils had drunk alcohol in the last 7 days, compared with 26% in 2001.

Drug use was also shown to have decreased from 12% in 2001 to 10% in 2007.

The numbers of pupils trying smoking has also fallen from 53% in 1982 to 33% in 2007.

The survey was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

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