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Youth and the schools population (EYE)

Overview

  • Table EYE-0 lists all bibliographic references and data sources.
  • Table EYE-10 presents data on lifetime prevalence of psychoactive substance use among students aged 15–16 years old, as self-reported in the latest available surveys (2003–07).
  • Table EYE-11 presents data on lifetime prevalence of psychoactive substance use among students aged 15–16 years old, as self-reported in all available national surveys dating back to 1994.
  • Tables EYE-20, EYE-21, EYE-22 and EYE-23 present data from the 2007 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). All data is on students aged 15–16 years. This survey is carried out in almost all EU countries at four-year intervals. For more methodological details, please see Methods and definitions — Schools surveys and www.espad.org.
  • Tables EYE-20 presents data on lifetime prevalence of psychoactive substance use in 2007: part (i) in all students, part (ii) in males and part (iii) in females.
  • Tables EYE-21 presents data on cannabis use — lifetime, last year and last month prevalence: part (i) in all students, part (ii) in males and part (iii) in females.
  • Table EYE-22 presents data on lifetime prevalence of psychoactive substance use from all ESPAD surveys (1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007): part (i) in all students, part (ii) in males and part (iii) in females.
  • Table EYE-23 presents data specifically on cannabis use from all ESPAD surveys (1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007), including data in three different time windows, on intensive use of cannabis in lifetime (use of 40 or more times), early initiation (first use at age 13 or before) and perceived availability: part (i) in all students, while part (ii) for males and part (iii) for females.
  • Figure EYE-1 compares patterns of cannabis use including data in three different time windows, gender and age comparisons, intensive use of cannabis in lifetime (use of 40 or more times), early initiation (first use at age 13 or before), perceived availability and risk, and comparison with the previous ESPAD surveys.
  • Figure EYE-2 presents data on lifetime prevalence of different drugs other than cannabis — LSD or other hallucinogens, ecstasy, binge alcohol, amphetamines and magic mushrooms.

Summary points

  • Recent comparable data on young people’s use of alcohol and drug come largely from surveys of 15- to 16-year-old school students. The European School Survey Project (ESPAD) conducted surveys in 1995, 1999, 2003 and more recently, 2007. The 2007 survey (Hibell et al., 2009) provides comparable data from 25 EU Member States as well as Norway and Croatia. Five countries conducted their own school surveys in 2008 (Belgium-Flemish Community, Spain, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom-England)
  • The latest ESPAD survey data from 2007 reveal that the highest lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among 15- and 16-year-old school students is in the Czech Republic (45 %) (Figure EYE-1 part (ii)). High lifetime prevalence estimates, ranging from 26 % to 32 %, are also reported in Estonia, France, the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic and the United Kingdom.
  • Increases in cannabis use occurred in a number of European countries between 1995 and 2003 but have, in general, come to a halt or decreased more recently. Seven countries mainly located in Northern and Southern Europe (Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Romania, Finland, Sweden, Norway) reported overall stable and low lifetime prevalence of cannabis use during the whole period. Other western European countries, as well as Croatia and Slovenia, have shown a significant increase of lifetime cannabis use up to 2003 and since then nine of these reported a decrease of more than three percentage points, two were stable and none reported an increase. In most of central and eastern Europe the increasing trend observed between 1995 and 2003 seems not to have been reversed yet. In this region, two out of eight countries report increases of more than three percentage points since 2003, six or more a stable situation and none a significant decrease. In the five countries that conducted national school surveys in 2008, all reported stable or lower lifetime prevalence of cannabis use than reported in 2007 (Table EYE-11).
  • Increases in lifetime cannabis use between 1995 and 2003 in Europe were in some countries accompanied by increases in the prevalence of cigarette smoking among school students. Since 2003, both trends have reversed, suggesting a possible link between tobacco and cannabis smoking.
  • Estimates of the prevalence of other drug use among school students are much lower than those for cannabis use. For example, lifetime prevalence of cocaine use among 15- to 16-year-old school students is between 1 % and 2 % in half of the 28 reporting countries. Most of the remaining countries report prevalence levels of between 3 % and 4 %, while Spain, France, and the United Kingdom report 5 %. Among the five countries that conducted school surveys in 2008, two reported a decrease of 1%, one reported an increase of 1%, and two reported no change since the last survey (Table EYE-11). However, caution is required interpreting trends with such low prevalence.
  • In the countries conducting their own national school surveys, drug prevalence questions may be considered comparable to the ESPAD questions but other aspects of the method mean the data are not strictly comparable.

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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Friday, 09 July 2010