Adolescence is a complex period marked by profound changes in most areas of personal development. In the school context, some secondary students display disruptive behaviour and begin to experiment with drugs. Eagerness to prove themselves, family problems, academic failure and peer pressure are linked to substance use among young people. The general objective of this research is to evaluate legal and illegal drug use by students of compulsory secondary education and, at the same time, analyse the educational interventions developed by teachers to promote health. The target population for this research comprised 32 secondary schools in the Basque Country, from which 24 high schools (75%) were selected. All of these schools participated in health education programmes funded by the Basque Department of Education during the 2010-2011 academic year. Illegal drug use is positively related to students involvement in episodes of school violence, tobacco use, free-time activities outside the home and symptoms of adolescent fatigue. Illegal drug use is negatively related to the age of onset of alcohol consumption, parent-trust relationships, physical activity, personal hygiene habits, compliance with road safety regulations, personal well-being, the age of onset of tobacco consumption, eating habits, satisfaction with teachers, weekend computer and television use and self-esteem. Healthy education calls for a community project, combining efforts and initiatives among the various social stakeholders to create a healthy, professionally competitive and ethically competent citizenry.
Key Words: Health education, drugs, compulsory secondary education, adolescence, values and attitudes.