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Irish teens are more likely to take drugs and get drunk, study shows


Nearly 20pc of Irish teens said they had smoked dope

Nearly 20pc of Irish teens said they had smoked dope

Nearly 20pc of Irish teens said they had smoked dope

Smoking and drinking levels among 15 to 16-year-olds across Europe, including Irish teenagers, are declining, a new EU report has shown.

However, the study showed Irish teenagers were more likely to have taken illicit drugs than their continental counterparts.

The report by the EU Drugs Agency - known as the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) - revealed 20pc of Irish teens had consumed some illegal drug in their lifetime compared with the European average of 17pc.

It also expressed concern over potential risks of using cannabis - which has been taken by 19pc of Irish teens - and the dangers posed by new addictive behaviours such as e-cigarettes.

The report revealed 37pc of Irish teens had used an electronic cigarette, with 15pc having used one in the previous month.

Boys here are nearly twice as likely to use e-cigarettes as girls.

Almost 100,000 students, including 1,940 from Ireland, took part in the latest edition of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs.

The study showed 30pc of boys and 19pc of girls in Ireland had gambled at least once in the previous year. One in 10 Irish teens regarded their gambling as excessive, with 5.7pc saying it was problematic.

Alcohol use remains high across Europe, with 72pc in Ireland admitting having used booze at some stage and 41pc having consumed it in the previous month.

These levels are slightly below the European average.


However, 16pc said they had become intoxicated in the previous month compared with the European average of 13pc, with the rate slightly higher among girls than boys.

Nearly a quarter of Irish teens said they had consumed alcohol at the age of 13 or younger, with 5.3pc claiming they became intoxicated.

Despite the high levels of alcohol use among young people, the EMCDDA figures show the trend has been downward since a peak in 2003, when 91pc of European teens said they had consumed alcohol in their lifetime.

The study also recorded the lowest level of binge drinking among European teens in more than a decade, down from 43pc in 2007 to 35pc last year, although the figure has risen slightly in Ireland.

On another positive note, smoking has become less popular.

The report showed 31pc of Irish teens have smoked a cigarette in their lifetime compared with the European average of 41pc.

Only 14pc of Irish students had smoked in the past month, in contrast to the European average of 20pc.

The study showed 11pc of Irish teens claimed to have smoked before they were 13.

The EMCDDA said the non-medical use of prescription drugs by young people also remained a concern.

Irish teens recorded the highest level of use of synthetic cathinones, with 2.5pc taking the substance, while they also had one of the highest levels of use of anabolic steroids at 2pc.

Ireland recorded the highest rate for the perceived availability of cocaine, with 22pc claiming it was relatively easy to get.

Just over 3pc of teens said they had taken cocaine, which made it the most common illicit drug here after cannabis.