Smoking, cannabis use down among German youth, but drinking up

6th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Young Germans consume less tobacco and cannabis now than some years ago. The life of German youth is not entirely healthy, however; alcohol use has massively increased.

Berlin -- The German youth are turning away from tobacco and cannabis, but there is an "alarming" rise in binge drinking, according to the annual report released by the government's commissioner on drug abuse on Monday.

The 2008 report also noted a rise in the number of drug-related deaths to 1,394 during 2007, up 98 from the previous year, when the number of recorded deaths was the lowest since 1989.

The proportion of young people smoking had declined to 18 percent in 2007 from 28 percent just six years ago, the report by Sabine Baetzing, a member of the German parliament for the Social Democrats (SPD), said.

The report found that 13 percent of youths had tried cannabis, down from 22 percent three years earlier.

Baetzing's report put the number of regular cannabis users at around 600,000, most of them young.

"So called binge drinking has risen sharply among the young," the report said.

In 2005, youngsters aged 12-17 consumed 34 grams of pure alcohol a week, but by 2007 this figure had risen to 50 grams.

The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions of those aged up to 20 had more than doubled between 2000 and 2006, the report said.

Baetzing said the influence of alcohol advertising should not be underestimated, especially adverts that targeted the young. "The negative consequences of excessive alcohol consumption are not shown there," she said.

Some 9.5 million Germans consumed alcohol in a way that was "risky" and 1.3 million were dependent on alcohol.

The report found that around a third of all adult Germans smoked and around 1.4 million were dependent on medications of various kinds.

It praised recent legislation passed in the 16 states to restrict smoking in public places and predicted that most people would quickly become used to this, as they had in other European countries.

The report put the number of people using opiates, cocaine, amphetamines and hallucinogens at 200,000.


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