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Cannabis use falls amongst teenagers


Friday, November 6th, 2009 Cannabis use falls amongst teenagers

There has been a continual decline in the use of cannabis amongst young people in the UK, according to the annual survey from the European drug agency.

The overall decline is down to a change in attitudes in the current generation of school students, however Britain has managed to maintain the top position for cocaine consumption with 5% of young adults aged 15 to 24 reporting that they have used the drug in the past year.

The report, taken out by the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction, says that Britain had the highest use of cannabis amongst 15 to 16-year-olds during the early to mid-1990s with 42% of teenagers admitting to trying the drug at its peak. The latest figures reveal that this has now fallen to 29%.

“This picture has progressively changed, as levels of use rose in other countries. Moreover, cannabis use in the United Kingdom has been steadily declining since around 2003, particularly among the 16-24 age group, suggesting a generational shift,” says the annual report.

The downward trend in cannabis consumption has spread across Europe, including the Netherlands where their government’s policy on decriminalization means that cannabis is permitted in coffee shops. In fact the Netherlands now has the lowest rates of cannabis use in adults, which only 5.4% of Dutch adults admitting to have used cannabis in the last year, which is lower than the European average of 6.8%.

However, there is an apparent cocaine problem in Europe as the EU drug agency report states that cocaine use remains concentrated in western EU countries. Spain and the UK have the highest percentage of users, where 5% of young adults admitted to using the drug in the past year.

This upward trend is thought to be fuelled by the decreasing price of cocaine, which is a result of South American cocaine traffickers searching for an alternative market to the US.

Heroin consumption has stabilised, according to the report, with between 1.2 million and 1.5 million opioid users.


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