60 percent of Spanish adolescents state they do not take drugs and rarely drink alcohol

February 09, 2012

Despite the clichés surrounding the habits of adolescents, the results of a study by the University of Seville show that most young people do not fit the risk profile of taking substances. Some 60% of Spaniards aged 13 to 18 say they do not take drugs and rarely drink alcohol - only in moderation - and at the same time, less than 10% admit to have taken some form of illegal drug.

"Although it is important that society, the media, the experts involved and young people themselves change the stereotype of adolescents taking drugs, the data from our study should not be seen as an excuse not to prevent substance use" Pilar Ramos, teacher and researcher at University of Seville highlighted.

Her research, which forms part of the 2006 edition of the study Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC), presents the data for drug use from a sample of 15,942 Spanish adolescents, 46.7% of which were male, aged 13 to 18, from 375 different educational institutions.

The researchers conducted a questionnaire about substance use, biopsychosocial adjustments and the contexts of development. They were asked about the frequency of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use, intoxication and consumption of other illegal drugs, such as designer ones (ecstasy or 'pills', LSD, acid) amphetamines or speed, opiates (heroine, methadone) medication to 'get high', cocaine, glue and others.

The project shows that after alcohol and tobacco, the substance most popular amongst adolescents is cannabis. In fact, Spain, joint with Wales, is the country with the third highest rate of cannabis use by young people, after Canada and Switzerland.

The friendship group is fundamental for the analysis

The study also includes drug use in friendship groups. "The measures show that teenagers that take drugs are less satisfied at school and with their families. However, the friendship environment is where these young people feel most satisfied. In this respect, this project also verifies the direct relationship between the level of substance use by young people and their friends. This is one of the reasons why analysing their friendship groups is important when studying youth substance use" Ramos states.

"Along similar lines, a recent study carried out within the same research project has compared the influence of the social environment in tobacco consumption amongst Spanish and English adolescents. The conclusions show that the fact that their best friend smokes is considerably more relevant than any other person in the adolescent's development, such as parents or siblings" the researcher asserts.

The differences in geographical areas are minimal

"Although there are no significant differences between provinces, a fact that is repeated systematically in tobacco, alcohol and cannabis consumption studies is the low rate in adolescents from Ceuta and Melilla. However, regarding Spanish regions with higher levels of consumption, the differences are less clear" Ramos says.

The north-eastern part of Spain, especially Aragón and Catalonia, are those which have consumed tobacco and cannabis "slightly more regularly" than the other regions. The same occurs with the prevalence of alcohol use, although in this case adolescents from the Balearic Islands are the ones that have tried alcohol more frequently, followed by those from Aragón and Catalonia.

According to the scientists, the measures to reduce drug use could be grouped into three areas of intervention: putting in place better and further reaching measures to regulate and control access to these substances (especially alcohol) for the younger population, extending prevention programs and promoting responsible consumption; and finally, improve the coherence and continuity in different environments where young people grow and develop. They conclude that "in other words, there should be good relationships in different contexts of development: family, school and friends."
-end-
References: Morgan, A., Rivera, F., Jiménez-Iglesias, A., Owen, L., Moreno, C. & Haglund, B. (en revisión). Can we still be friends if I don't smoke: an asset based analysis of adolescent smoking behaviour in England and Spain. Journal of Health Psychology.

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

Related Alcohol Articles from Brightsurf:

Alcohol use changed right after COVID-19 lockdown
One in four adults reported a change in alcohol use almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were issued: 14% reported drinking more alcohol and reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than those who did not drink and those whose use stayed the same.

Changes in hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder in US
Changes over nearly two decades in the rate of hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths from alcohol use disorder in the US were examined in this study.

Associations of alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced passing out with risk of dementia
The risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers was examined in this observational study with more than 131,000 adults.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

Does estrogen influence alcohol use disorder?
A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that high estrogen levels may make alcohol more rewarding to female mice.

Sobering new data on drinking and driving: 15% of US alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities involve alcohol under the legal limit
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, found that motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) below the legal limit of 0.08 percent accounted for 15% of alcohol-involved crash deaths in the United States.

Alcohol-induced deaths in US
National vital statistics data from 2000 to 2016 were used to examine how rates of alcohol-induced deaths (defined as those deaths due to alcohol consumption that could be avoided if alcohol weren't involved) have changed in the US and to compare the results by demographic groups including sex, race/ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status and geographic location.

Cuts in alcohol duty linked to 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England
Government cuts to alcohol taxes have had dramatic consequences for public health, including nearly 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England since 2012, according to new research from the University of Sheffield's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).

Integrated stepped alcohol treatment for people in HIV care improves both HIV & alcohol outcomes
Increasing the intensity of treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) over time improves alcohol-related outcomes among people with HIV, according to new clinical research supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet:Targets to reduce harmful alcohol use are likely to be missed as global alcohol intake increases
Increasing rates of alcohol use suggest that the world is not on track to achieve targets against harmful alcohol use, according to a study of 189 countries' alcohol intake between 1990-2017 and estimated intake up to 2030, published in The Lancet.

Read More: Alcohol News and Alcohol Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.