Alcohol, tobacco, cannabis… Adolescents consume less and less psychoactive substances

Alcohol, tobacco, cannabis… Adolescents consume less and less psychoactive substances


They are on the right path. According to a study by the French Observatory of Drugs and Addictive Tendencies (OFDT), for the second edition of the national EnClass survey, adolescents are less and less users of psychoactive substances.

According to the head of the OFDT data unit, Stanislas Spilka, Covid played a big role in the reduction in consumption, often linked to moments of teenage conviviality: “The breakdown in sociability stopped the experiments”.

What substances are we talking about?

The study covers the three most consumed psychoactive substances – and relatively accessible – by adolescents. Alcohol, tobacco, cannabis… Occupy a “prime” place in the “first experiences” of adolescents who, sometimes as early as middle school, begin using them. The OFDT identified the habits of 9,500 middle and high school students.

Reduction in consumption

Compared to the previous survey carried out in 2018, the study shows the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and even cannabis is decreasing. For alcohol, use in the month preceding the survey fell from 62.1 to 49.3%. There regular consumption has also been divided by three. In 2010, more than seven out of ten college students had experimented with alcohol, a proportion which has continued to decline over the course of the surveys.

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In 2011 in high schools, more than nine out of ten students had already experimented with alcohol, and three quarters had consumed it in the last thirty days.

Regarding tobacco, a clear decrease has been noted. In four years, the share of middle school students using it increased from 21.2 to 11.4% and from 53 to 34% for high school students. The proportion of college students who have already smoked tobacco has been divided by three in twelve years. In high school, experimentation with tobacco and its monthly consumption has been reduced by half. Daily smoking has been divided by five.

Cannabis is also losing popularity. Between 2018 and 2022, the share of adolescent consumers (occasional or regular) went from 31.1 to 22.5%. The spread of cannabis in high schools has diminished. In 2011, almost half of the students had already experienced it, while there will be less than a quarter in 2022.

Teenagers are always experimenting

Alcohol remains the most commonly tested and consumed substance among adolescents. In middle school, boys experiment with alcohol and cannabis more often than girls. One in ten college students has already been drunk, and this without distinction according to gender. In addition, the spread of cannabis occurs later and remains limited during middle school.

“We are happy about the alcohol, but everything is not settled,” summarizes Stanislas Spilka, head of the OFDT data unit, for AFP. “There is significant occasional drinking, five drinks for the same occasion. Fewer of them drink, but when they do drink, they drink in this way, behavior that remains dangerous », he continues. Furthermore, he hopes, “the prospect of a tobacco-free generation is almost achievable”.

For Nicolas Prisse, president of the Interministerial Mission to Combat Drugs and Addictive Behaviors (Mildeca): “I don’t think we can say that this hides other addictions.”



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