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Children Receiving Free School Meals in England Are More Likely to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

on Monday, 30 April 2012. Posted in Breaking News, From Professionals

Students And Substance Abuse

A British study suggests that students who receive free school meals need to be watched more closely than other groups to ensure they do not start taking illegal drugs. According to, researchers at the University of Liverpool found that free school meals may be an important predictor for substance abuse among kids in England.

The researchers looked at 4,000 children, aged 10 to 15, in the north-west of England and discovered that receiving free meals was associated with an increased risk of drug-taking. Almost one-fifth of the participants were eligible for free school meals, and the researchers found these children were more likely to be unhappy and less likely to have good friends who were not eligible for free meals. One in three children who were eligible for free school meals had smoked at least once, as compared with one in five of the children who did not receive free meals. Those receiving free meals were also more likely to get drunk. Furthermore, children aged 8 to 10 who received free meals were twice as likely to have tried drugs.

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