Drug use among young people. Leisure and weekend.

Although consumption of drugs has existed throughout history, in recent decades has taken a new dimension”As Becona Elisardo says one of his articles in 2000. The leisure habits of teens have changed resulting in the emergence of new activities to enjoy leisure time. Among these new forms, the drug has grown markedly giving rise to what is known as recreational use, particularly with regard to so-called drug initiation (alcohol, Snuff and cannabis) And to a lesser extent, other substances such as cocaine or ecstasy.


Given, therefore, the need to deepen the problem of drug addiction and the consequences of this are derived, as well as have an understanding as possible of the most comprehensive consumer trends, the prevalence rates of different substances or their patterns of consumption, National Plan on Drugs created in 1997 the Spanish Observatory on Drugs (OED). Its aim is to integrate information scattered and partially develop the tools of information and analysis on drugs and drug addiction. To meet that objective, the OED has been doing for more than a decade two biannual surveys. On the one hand, the Household Survey on Alcohol and Drugs in Spain (AGES) aimed at the general population aged 15-64 years and, on the other hand, the National Survey on Drug Use in High School Students (ESTUDES ), which focuses on secondary school population, aged between 14 and 18.

ESTUDES report data show the percentage of drug use among adolescents

According to the report data ESTUDES 2008, the consumption of alcohol in the past year among students aged 14-18 years was 81.2% while consumption in the last month was 58.2%, focusing consumption substantially during the weekend. With respect to Snuff, the report says there is a stabilization of consumption among young people 14-18 years after the significant fall of 2006, although this decline may be related to the legal measures put in place to reduce consumption. With respect to cannabis, prevalence annual consumption over the last year among Secondary School Students 14-18 years increased from 18.2% in 1994 to 36.6% in 2004, but dropped to 30.5% in 2008. Similarly, the perceived availability of cannabis also decreased in this segment of the population.

In reference to cocaine, while the annual prevalence rate in the last 12 months among young people aged 14-18 years reached 7.2% in 2004, fell to 3.6% in 2008. For its part, the supply of cocaine over the same period remained stable or increased. In fact, the price-purity indicator of small seizures of this drug is fairly stable, however, the perceived availability showed a steady increase as the population aged 15-64 (AGES report) and the population of 14 -18 years (report ESTUDES).

Amphetamines and ecstasy in Spain, unlike in other European countries have a prevalence of less than the consumption of cocaine. At home or school surveys not seen a clear trend of consumption, but appears to be stable or declining, since according ESTUDES amphetamines have gone from being consumed annually by 4.4% in 1996 to 2.5% in 2008 and the ecstasy of 4.1% in 1996 to 1.9% in 2008. Finally, the prevalence of hallucinogens is very low and even more problems associated with their consumption. Thus, the population of secondary school students 14-18 years increased from 5.6% in 1996 to 2.7% in 2008.

A lifestyle for the weekend

Prevalence rates for consumption of these drugs remain a concern, especially among young people since the age of initiation has reduced significantly, and drug abuse patterns associated with leisure time, mostly during the late week. As Costa and Lopez stand in his 1996 book drug consumption is not isolated but rather a lifestyle, also associated with other risk behaviors: criminal behavior, early sexual practices and / or risk, unhealthy eating habits, sensation seeking in leisure activities or reckless driving.

For this reason and for the speed with which the expansion occurred in drug use and the impact of some of the problems associated with it (health problems, social or security for example) forced both government and associations or nongovernmental organizations to establish answers to a phenomenon that is creating a rising alarm. In this sense, the answer has been paralleled care demands attention at every moment generated by the type of drug used and the social problems arising from the specific use of each substance.

After the period 2000-2008, the Government Office for the National Drug Plan developed new National Strategy covering the period 2009-2016. The strategy recognizes the important changes in the variables that converge in the drug phenomenon and its environment in recent years, in order to successfully tackle the challenges of success.