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Differences between US and European students

Specifically designed to be comparable to the US Monitoring the Future (MFT) high school survey, the European School Survey on Alcohol and Drugs (ESPAD) was conducted in 1999 with 10th grade students in 30 participating European countries. According to the 1999 MTF survey, just over a quarter of US 10th graders reported that they had smoked at least one cigarette in the past 30 days, compared with an average of 37% of similarly aged students in the participating European countries (where the proportions ranged from 16% to 67%). Forty per cent of the US students reported using alcohol in the past 30 days, compared with 61% of European students (ranging from 36% to 85%). US students, however, were much more likely to have ever used illicit drugs. For example, 41% of them reported ever using marijuana, compared with 17% of European students (ranging from 1% to 35%). (Contributed by Ian Scott.)

Air safety

Some air navigation charts for pilots in New Zealand are about to be reprinted because of a few editorial errors. The maps to be reprinted because they have incorrect flight paths, flying heights, and air space boundaries and they omit a major airfield (The Age, Melbourne, September 2001; contributed by Ian Scott).

Tug-of-war injury

An 11 year old Australian boy suffered a major injury in a school yard game of tug-of-war in September. The game involves two teams pulling in opposite directions on a rope with the winner the one that pulls the other team across a fixed line. The boy was at the front of his team in a supervised game and had wrapped the 12 mm rope around the fingers of his right hand so that two thicknesses of rope were held between fingers and palm. In the to and fro action the rope cut into his palm so badly that it was only held on by tendons. Microsurgery restored the hand and medical reports are that the prognosis is good.

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