Drug, alcohol and cigarette consumption among 16-year-olds in Malta has declined, but alcohol consumption, in particular, remains a problem, according to a survey of 36 countries.
Results of the European School Survey Project 2011 show that alcohol use among 16-year-olds remained high at 86% compared to an EU average of 79%, although Malta’s result was down by 1% over a similar survey four years ago.
With regard to binge drinking (drinking five or more drinks on one occasion over one month) Malta ranked second out of 36 at 56%, fractionally below Denmark but down 1% from 2007. The EU average was 39 per cent..
14% of Maltese 16-year-olds said they had some sort of physical fight over the past 12 months because of alcohol. The EU average was 11%.
Drunkenness among these teenagers over a span of 30 days was 20% for Malta when the EU average was 17%..
There was more encouraging use with regard to cigarette use, with consumption at 22% in Malta compared to the EU average of 28%. The 2007 figure was 26% for Malta.
Regular use of illicit drugs in Malta was 12% when the EU average was 15%. In 2007 Malta Malta’s figure was 15%.
Researcher Sharon Arpa explained that the discrepancy was due to lower cannabis use in Malta. If that was taken out of the equation, drug use among these teenagers was equal to the EU average
The report found that with regard to the use of tranquillisers and sedatives without prescription, there was a 3% of use in Malta, to 2% whereas in the EU average was 6%. .
In the illicit use of inhalants, Malta was in seventh place out of 36.
Among speakers who discussed the findings at a seminar this morning, Dr George Grech, Sedqa clinical director said the results were positive and encouraging since percentage use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco had decreased. However, alcohol abuse, in particular, was a big problem and more effort was needed to tackle it. He looked forward to the launching of the alcohol abuse consumption policy in the near future.
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