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Drug addicts number high amongst teenagers

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 3
The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD), a project collecting comparable data on substance use among 15-16 year old students in European countries, has released its survey about 2015 findings.

This survey presented the results for eight selected key variables based on information provided by 96,043 students from 35 European countries, 24 of them being member states of the European Union.

Georgia joined the project last year.

A total of 2,477 questionnaires, filled in within the framework of the research, have been analysed, with 1,961 out of 2,477 Georgian pupils participating in the survey having been born in 1999.

“Georgian students reported prevalence rates higher or slightly higher than the ESPAD average for five of the eight key variables studied. Heavy episodic drinking in the last 30 days, for example, was reported by 41 % of the students in Georgia, compared to the ESPAD average of 35 %,” the survey said.

The survey also stressed the results for lifetime use of illicit drugs other than cannabis, tranquillisers or sedatives without prescription, inhalants and new psychoactive substances were "all above average”.

For three of the variables, the results were below average.

This was true for last-30-day use of cigarettes, last-30-day use of alcohol and for lifetime use of cannabis.

"The overall impression is that the substance-use habits of Georgian students did not differ greatly from the ESPAD average, even though the prevalence rates more often were above rather than below average,” the report read.

With regards to attitudes towards alcohol, the prevalence of drinking is likely connected with the fact that many men in Georgia believe that drinking a lot carries social status. This habit gives Georgian men “mucho” image.

The survey reveals this attitude is supported by the fact that alcohol is readily available in Georgia, something which needs to be addressed.

The situation in terms of cigarettes is also negative, as cigarette prices remain quite low in Georgia; schoolchildren and students have access to them as there are few controls over underage smoking.

Increasing the price of cigarettes may reduce consumption, and introducing stricter ID controls to prevent students from buying cigarettes.

However, the abuse of substances and drugs which can be bought in pharmacies is less prevalent now as pharmacies have been deprived of the right to sell a range of medicines without prescriptions.