Young use 'legal highs' far more than in rest of Europe
ALMOST a quarter of young people in Ireland have used 'legal highs' – compared with fewer than one in 10 throughout Europe.
A major study by the European Commission also revealed that we top the polls when it comes to cannabis use.
However, the Eurobarometer pinpointed a considerable rise in the use of new substances imitating the effects of illicit drugs and delivering so-called 'legal highs' among young people.
Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, said there was "no time to lose" and the commission has proposed legislation to protect young people against harmful new psychoactive substances from so-called 'head shops'.
Young Irish people are most likely to have used legal highs at 22pc, compared to an EU average of 8pc.
The study also found 28pc of young people in Ireland admitting to consuming cannabis within the last 12 months, compared to the European average of 17pc.
Just 58pc of our youth have never taken cannabis, the third lowest percentage in Europe and well below the European average of 69pc.
And young people here are far less likely to consider regular cannabis use to present a high risk to health – 46pc, next to the average of 63pc.
The study of 28 member states of the EU also found that 72pc of Irish youth think it would be "very or fairly easy" to personally obtain cannabis within 24 hours – considerably more than the 58pc average.