Unemployment drives 10% of you people to drink or drugs

One in 10 unemployed young people is driven to drugs or drink, with a further quarter claiming being out of work caused rows with parents, according to recent research.

A study based on interviews with 2,088 16- to 25-year-olds, published by The Prince’s Trust, has found that a “lost generation” of jobless young people were significantly less happy with their health, friendships and family life than those in work.

The news comes as the total number of young people out of work edged towards the one million mark (932,000) in the three months to October 2009.

Eleven per cent said unemployment had driven them to narcotics or alcohol, while 25% said being jobless caused arguments with family members.

Twenty-eight per cent said that unemployment caused them to exercise less, with about one in six of those currently out of work (17%) getting no exercise at all.

Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, said: “The implications of youth unemployment stretch beyond the dole queue. The emotional effects on young people are profound, long-term and can become irreversible. We must act now to prevent a lost generation of young people before it is too late.”

Fifteen per cent of young people across the country feel their lives lack direction, with this figure increasing to 42% for those out of work. One in three unemployed young people (32%) felt down or depressed all or most of the time, the survey – thought to be the largest of its kind – found.

One in 10 young people “rarely” or “never” felt loved, with this figure increasing to 15% for those out of work.

Milburn called on the government and employers to help the charity raise £1m a week to support unemployed and disadvantaged young people. She said: “We must invest in these young people, re-building their self-esteem, to ensure that today’s unemployed do not become tomorrow’s unemployable.”

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