The age of onset of alcohol and other substances is delayed in Spain

The fight against the consumption of alcohol In the new generations it has become one of the priorities of the authorities in recent years. Getting the youngest to understand the dangers of drinking drinks in the medium and long term has been an objective that has materialized in numerous awareness campaigns that seem to be giving their first positive results.

This is indicated by the first progress of the XII edition of the Survey on the Use of Drugs in Secondary Education in Spain, STUDIES, made to 35,369 young people between 14 and 18 years old distributed in 863 educational centers, both public and private. A report in which in addition to alcohol, other elements likely to generate addiction such as cannabis or videogames are analyzed.


The STUDY data again show the downward trend of alcohol consumption started in 2012, although there is still a high consumption among young people. 76.9% of the students among 14 and 18 years has ever tried one of these beverages, a percentage that was 78.9% in 2014. On the other hand, 75.6% have consumed in the last year (76.8% in 2014) and 67% have made in the last month (68.2% in 2014).

Along with the reduction of alcohol consumption, this edition of ESTUDES also highlights that for the first time, since the beginning of this work in 1994, the average age of beginning in the consumption of these drinks is delayed until the age of 14. Since the beginning of this report, the average age of 13 and a half years.

Consumption in binge and drunkenness also decreases. These latest data show that 31.7% of school children have consumed these beverages intensively in the last 30 days, while in 2014 it was 32,2%. Of course, it is checked again that this pattern increases with age and is practiced by a higher percentage of girls than boys.


Tobacco remains the most widespread drug among students aged 14 to 18 years after alcohol. 34.7% (31.4 in 2014) of the students have smoked tobacco in the last year. Daily consumption stands at 8.8% (8.9% in 2014), the minimum figure of the historical series of STUDIES. In 2004, 21.5% of this sector of the population used to smoke daily.

The first contact with tobacco occurs at 14.1 years, a fact that for the first time throughout the historical series of STUDIES exceeds the border of 14 years. The acquisition of smoking habit on a daily basis, as occurred in 2014, begins at 14.6 years on average, barely half a year after having tried it for the first time.

On the other hand, the percentage of young people living in homes where you smoke every day If in 1994 this figure was 68.2%, in this edition it stands at 47.8% (49.7% in 2014).


The most negative reading of this edition of ESTUDES is given by cannabis. These numbers register a rebound in the consumption of this substance. The indicators of those who have ever tried it and in the last year grow slightly. Not so with the intake in the last month, that goes down lightly

Thus, 31.1% (29.1% in 2014) have tested it once in their lives, 26.3% (25.4% in 2014) in the last year and 18.3% ( 18.6% in 2014) in the last month. It also follows the downward trend from the peak of 16.1% registered in 2012 in problematic consumers

The prevalence of problematic consumption it is higher among males and increases as age does. This group smokes more cannabis per day (5.4 compared to 3.4 for other consumers) and registers intensive consumption of alcohol and tobacco much higher than the average of students.

Damián Montero

Video: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari

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