Cyprus in top 3 of teenage drink­ing in EU

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Smok­ing and drink­ing among 15 and 16-year-old stu­dents in the EU are show­ing signs of de­cline, but there are con­cerns over chal­lenges posed by new drugs and new ad­dic­tive be­hav­iours. And while over­all il­licit drug use is sta­ble in this group after pre­vi­ous in­creases (1995–2003), it con­tin­ues at high lev­els.

These are among the find­ings re­leased on Tues­day in the lat­est re­port from the Euro­pean School Sur­vey Project on Al­co­hol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). The study, pub­lished in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA), is based on a 2015 sur­vey in 35 Euro­pean coun­tries, in­clud­ing 24 EU mem­ber states.

Al­co­hol con­sump­tion among stu­dents in Cyprus stands well above the EU av­er­age, ac­cord­ing to the ESPAD re­port, plac­ing Cyprus third among 48 coun­tries.

The sur­vey found that the Cypriot stu­dents re­ported higher lev­els 68% (com­pared to EU av­er­age 48%) of al­co­hol use in the last 30 days, in­clud­ing heavy episodic drink­ing at 50% (com­pared to 35% EU av­er­age).

On the con­trary, sub­stance use rates stand at more or less the same mag­ni­tude as the ESPAD av­er­age for five of the eight key vari­ables stud­ied.

The re­port said that life­time cannabis use in Cyprus was below the av­er­age (7 % ver­sus 16 %). The same ap­plies to cig­a­rette smok­ing, that is lower than the EU av­er­age (18% ver­sus 21%), tran­quilis­ers with­out pre­scrip­tion (5% ver­sus 6%), but use of in­halants is marginally higher (8% to 7%).

Ac­cord­ing to the key find­ings, on av­er­age, over 60% of the stu­dents in the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries replied that they would find it fairly or very easy (hereafter re­ferred to as easy) to get hold of cig­a­rettes if they wanted to. Stu­dents in the Czech Repub­lic were most likely to find it easy (80%), fol­lowed closely by Aus­tria (79%), Liecht­en­stein (77%) and Den­mark (76%). Low fig­ures of per­ceived avail­abil­ity were found in Moldova (22%) and in three other coun­tries in the eastern part of Europe: FYROM (38%), Ro­ma­nia (37%) and Ukraine (39%). Gen­der dif­fer­ences were neg­li­gi­ble at the ag­gre­gate level (62% for boys ver­sus 60% for girls).

Nearly half of the stu­dents (47%) re­ported al­co­hol use at the age of 13 or younger. The high­est pro­por­tions were in Ge­or­gia (72%), the Czech Repub­lic (68%) and Cyprus (68%). The coun­tries with the low­est rates were Ice­land (14%) and Nor­way (19%).

About three in ten stu­dents (30%) rated cannabis to be eas­ily avail­able. In the Czech Repub­lic (50%), more stu­dents than in any other ESPAD coun­try re­ported easy ac­cess. High pro­por­tions were also found in Slove­nia (45%), as well as in Bul­garia and Liecht­en­stein (44% each). The coun­tries with the low­est per­ceived avail­abil­ity of cannabis were Moldova (5%) and Ukraine (11%). Boys were more likely than girls to con­sider cannabis to be eas­ily avail­able (32% ver­sus 29%).

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