Health presents the conclusions of the Survey on Drug Use among Secondary School Students in the Balearic Islands

Feb 18, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

More than 2,000 students between 14 and 18 years old participated in the survey.

Alcohol is still the legal psychoactive substance with the highest prevalence of consumption among students.

The Regional Minister of Health, Manuela García, and the General Director of Mental Health, Alicia González, presented the results of the latest survey and explained the initiatives promoted by the Government to prevent addictions -with or without substances- among young people. They were accompanied by the regional coordinator of Addictions, Elena Tejera.

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Health presents the conclusions of the Survey on Drug Use among Secondary School Students

The councilor said that the results of the ESTUDES survey contribute to generate the necessary evidence to be able to make decisions on prevention and promotion of health and healthy habits among the younger population. She also stressed that it is important that society as a whole and the administrations are aware that in order to achieve objectives in this field it is necessary to work together.

In this sense, he highlighted the close and joint work carried out by PADIB with Education to make available to the centers several addiction prevention programs, as well as that of the Platform for Quality Leisure in the Balearic Islands (POQIB), which is a space for participation and awareness of which entities and public administrations are part and whose purpose is to offer young people healthy alternatives.

In this latest edition of the survey 2,207 people were consulted.

Thus, in 2022-23 alcohol was the psychoactive substance with the highest prevalence of consumption among students aged 14 to 18 years in the Balearic Islands, according to data from the Survey on drug use among secondary school students in Spain (ESTUDES), which is conducted biennially and promoted and financed by the Government Delegation for the National Plan on Drugs with the collaboration of the autonomous communities.

Regarding this substance, 75.9 % of those surveyed acknowledge having consumed alcoholic beverages at some time in their lives, 72.9 % in the last year and 52.1 % in the last month. Alcohol continues to be the legal psychoactive substance with the highest prevalence of consumption among students. The prevalence of alcohol consumption is higher in women than in men in all frequencies, also in the most problematic consumptions, such as binge drinking and binge drinking.

Twenty-six percent of students report having consumed alcohol intensively (binge drinking) in the last thirty days, a figure that rises to 50.7% among those who have consumed alcoholic beverages in the last month.

18.6 % of students report having been drunk in the last month. 38.5% of students say they have been binge drinking in the last year.

The majority of students make regular use of energy drinks, 50.7% report having consumed them in the last month and 22.8% combined with alcohol.

As for tobacco use, 34.5% of students between 14 and 18 years of age report having smoked tobacco at some time in their lives. 29.1% in the last year, 22.2% in the last thirty days and 6.9% daily during the last month. The prevalence of tobacco use is higher in women.

Some 53.9 % reported having used electronic cigarettes at some time in their lives; this prevalence in 2020-21 was 39.3 %. The value is higher in women (56.3 %) than in men (51.3 %).

20.8% of students claim to have consumed hypnosedatives (with and without prescription) at some time in their lives, 15.8% in the last twelve months and 8.9% in the last month.

Among the illegal psychoactive substances, cannabis is the most consumed by students after alcohol and tobacco. Some 31.4% of young people reported having consumed cannabis at some time in their lives, 26.5% in the last year and 19% in the last thirty days.

Compared to the 2020-21 data, the trend in lifetime use remains the same, but use increases both in the past 12 months (26.5 vs. 24.0%) and in the past 30 days (19.0 vs. 15.6%). For the first time, women equal men in cannabis use.

Students start using legal substances earlier than illegal ones. The age of onset is 14 years for alcohol, 14.1 years for tobacco, 14.3 years for hypnosedatives, 14.9 years for cannabis, 15.1 years for cocaine and 15.7 years for hallucinogens.

Risk perception

With regard to the perception of risk, students between 14 and 18 years of age believe that certain behaviors can lead to many or many problems. The perception of risky behaviors is observed in smoking a pack of tobacco a day (86.1%) and in the habitual use of substances such as powder cocaine (87.8%), heroin (87.5%) and cannabis (84.2%).

In terms of perceived availability, 91.7% consider that they can easily or very easily obtain alcohol, 87.8% tobacco, followed by 58.0% cannabis.

In relation to the measures that could be taken to solve the drug problem, the most highly valued is education in schools (86.7%), followed by voluntary treatment of drug users (78.5%). The least valued measure refers to the legalization of all drugs (24.3%).

Behavioral addictions: Internet, video games and gambling

18.4 % refer to a compulsive use of the Internet: chatting, sending mails, WhatsApp, using social networks, playing games with or without money, listening to music or watching videos.

More prevalence is observed in girls (23.9 %), compared to boys (12.7 %).

In the case of gambling, 14.9% reported having played gambling games with money, both in person and online. It should be recalled that these data are mostly related to minors.

A total of 85.7% have played video games in the last twelve months. The prevalence is higher in boys, who represent 97.1%, compared to girls, who represent 74.8%.

As for playing with money on the Internet, 9.1 % said that they had played in the last twelve months. 13.2 % were men and 5.1 % were women.

14.9% said that they had gambled with money in person in the last year. 18.3% were boys and 11.5% were girls.

Resources for the prevention of addictions

The General Directorate of Mental Health (DGSM), through the Addictions Plan of the Balearic Islands, makes available to schools several preventive programs aimed at early childhood, primary and secondary education.

Likewise, the Platform for Quality Leisure is a community participation tool, led by the DGSM, of which public entities and administrations are part and whose purpose is to promote collaborative preventive strategies within the field of leisure, and from all sectors, which lead to improvements in public health, such as the prevention of alcohol consumption in the group of minors.

Likewise, the DGSM has the CRIDA telephone number (971 17 78 48) to provide a personalized response and attention to anyone who requests it from anywhere in the Balearic Islands. It is a telephone service staffed by professionals and is characterized by its accessibility, immediacy of response, confidentiality and personalized attention.