TEENAGERS are more interested in hairstyles and music than heroin and marijuana, says a new study.
A survey of 1,000 teenagers carried out for Frank, the national drugs helpline, found that they felt their friends `talked up' their experience of drugs, just to fit in with their crowd.
The findings were backed by a Huddersfield drugs worker, who spends a lot of time working with young people.
The survey identified 10 distinct `tribes' which youngsters fall into. They range from black clad `Goths' to Top Shop-sporting `Townies'.
Darren Hall, Frank spokesman, said: "It is encouraging that while young people may talk about drug taking they are not necessarily experimenting with drugs themselves.
"However, it is important to get the facts about drugs, rather than relying on hearsay or urban myths."
The survey found:
* Some 21% of 14 to 16-year-olds and 22% of over-16s think their friends pretend to have taken drugs when they have not.
* Boys are twice as likely as girls to say that they have taken drugs when they have not.
* The Gangsta tribe is more likely to talk up' their drugs misuse at 35% `compared with 9% of academics/geeks and 19% of Scallies.
Andy Cole, team leader of Huddersfield-based Drug Sense, the service for young people with drug problems, said: "What the study has found is a strong possibility.
"It is a lot easier to be into hairstyles than drugs.
"Drugs are a bit more available than they have been. But it is still something you have to put a lot of effort into, as a young person, to get involved in.
"Fashion is something everybody is involved in all the time - and you can do it openly without any problem.
"Perhaps a good analogy is those surveys on young people and sexual activity." said Mr Cole.
"I am sure there will be some who want to boast that they have `done it' at the age of 13," he added.
To contact Frank, phone 0800 917 8765.
Would you know your Goths from your Gangstas?
* Academics/geeks - tend to listen to the radio, not swayed by fashion, prefer to stay inconspicuous and middle of the road.
* Gangstas - love hip hop stars like Eminem, designer brands, the latest sportswear and `bling' (ostentatious display of wealth) originally rooted in black music and style.
* Goths - typically dress in black and wear drip-white make-up. Favour music by Marilyn Manson or the Sisters Of Mercy.
* Moshers - rock music is a favourite with Kurt Cobain one of their most influential idols. Style ruled by comfort and a band's tour T-shirt.
* Indies - recently seen sporting quasi-Mohican look, love The Hives, Coldplay and going to gigs.
* Townies - fond of dance music and indie-esque bands such as Oasis, Travis and Stereophonics. Fashion favourites include Ben Sherman shirts.
* Scallies - too young to drive but obsessed with cars. Boys stick to casual sportswear and caps, girls go for gold hoop earrings. Hardhouse and original `Madchester' anthems are popular as well as mainstream pop charts.
* Skaters - mostly a boy tribe. Wear spiky hair and like groups such as Green Day and Blink 182. Labels include O'Neill.
* Sporties - least challenging of parental authority. Pop role models are healthy types such as Justin Timberlake and Holly Valance. Wear the latest tracksuit and sportswear.
* Trendy - achingly hip, dedicated followers of fashion who hanker after designer clothes but only from hip designers. Music tastes include the Kings of Leon and the Libertines.