Drugs and vulnerable groups of young people


‘With up to 2 million problem drug users in the EU, it's high time to raise awareness of vulnerable groups, especially youth, on the risks of drug taking.’
European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot, September 2008.
Social policy in Europe has long identified disadvantaged populations who manifest potential for social exclusion. These ‘vulnerable groups’ are specific groups among the wider population that may be more prone to a range of problems, from ill health, substance use and poor diet, to lower educational achievement. Groups of young people identified as vulnerable — examples include children in care institutions or homeless young people — might be prone to earlier, more frequent, or more problematic drug use. They might also experience faster progression to problem drug use. A multilingual summary of the contents is available.

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Table of contents

  • Identifying groups most at risk of developing drug problems
  • Monitoring vulnerability in Europe
  • Building resilience to drug problems
  • Identifying and responding to the needs of vulnerable groups
  • Vulnerable young people with ties to institutions
  • Vulnerable families
  • Homeless young people
  • Vulnerable populations in the community
  • Overall findings and common trends

Multilingual summaries