Italian teenagers lost between cannabis and spice

The ‘Espad Italia’ report on drug use among students confirms cannabis in the first place, followed by ‘spice’ and new psychoactive substances (Nps). Drug use increases among girls, although, lower than the levels of consumption of their male peers.

The study ‘Espad Italia’ of the Institute of Clinical Physiology of the National Research Council (Ifc-Cnr), describes the scenarios and trends present among youths in our country regarding the use of drugs and related risk behaviors: In particular, the information gathered regarding the use in 2016 of alcohol, tobacco and drugs among students between the ages of 15 and 19, showing that 32.9% of boys, just over 800 thousand, used at least one illegal psychoactive substance in the course of their life (males 37.7%, females 28%), while 25.9% (males 30.9%, females 20.7%, about 650 thousand boys) report having done so in the last year.

“Cannabis is confirmed as the most widespread illegal psychoactive substance. Almost a third of 15-19 year-olds (32.4%, around 804 thousand), have used it at least once in their lifetime, 25.8% (about 640 thousand) have used it in the last year. Also confirmed by the Report to the Parliament on the state of drug addiction where it is noted that the quantities of substance seized correspond to more than 90 percent of the total seizures and the reports for possession of cannabis for personal use account for 80 percent of the cases ” , states Sabrina Molinaro of the IFC-Cnr and coordinator of the Espad study. “In the second place for the use among young students we find spice, a synthetic cannabinoid that reproduces the effects of cannabis, particularly found on web: 11% (about 275 thousand youths) at least once in their lifetime have used it and 35.5% of these (about 98 thousand) did it 10 times or more “.The dominance of cannabis confirms the previous year’s data: “The fact that spice has become the second most widespread substance among students is a worrying data, since the health effects are not yet known properly and is therefore even more dangerous. Of consumption then follows the Nps (New Psychoactive Substance – New psychoactive substances), cocaine, stimulants and hallucinogens, while heroin is the less common substance “, concludes the researcher. “It is also observed the spread of Nps such as synthetic opiates and synthetic catinones such as mefredone, ketamine, phenethylamine, used at least once in their lifetime by 3.5% of students and therefore widespread as cocaine or even more widespread if one considers heroin, used in their lives respectively by 3.6 and 1.5 percent of the youths. The new drugs are also popular among female students: 2.8% have used them at least once in their lifetime. Almost 20 thousand women are treated from addiction services for the use of opiates, cocaine and cannabis and the female universe has assumed worrying characteristics, although consumption, complaints and arrests are at lower levels than the male ones: of the 32,992 people reported to the judicial authorities for drug-related crimes, 7% concern women and almost two thirds of the reported persons are young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 “.