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Moore, Joan (2011) From Drugnet Europe. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 39, Autumn 2011, p. 26.

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 Survey results: youth attitudes to drugs
Cited from article by Maurice Galla, DG Justice, European Commission, in Drugnet Europe, No. 75, July–September 2011 

The European Commission published on 11 July the results of its fourth survey exploring Youth attitudes on drugs.1 This ‘Flash Eurobarometer’ is based on telephone interviews conducted in May 2011 with over 12,000 randomly selected young people (aged 15–24) in all 27 EU Member States. It builds on three earlier Eurobarometer surveys carried out in 2002, 2004 and 2008.
Among the issues covered by the survey are: perceptions on the health risks of drug use; attitudes to banning or regulating substances; views on the availability of drugs; and opinions on the effectiveness of policies. For the first time, questions were included on new psychoactive substances (‘legal highs’).
On average, around 5 % of the young respondents said that they had used ‘legal highs’, with Ireland (16%), Latvia (9%), Poland (9 %) and the UK (8%) reporting higher rates and Italy, Malta and Finland (all around 1%) reporting lower rates. These substances were mainly obtained through friends (54%), at parties or in clubs (37%), in specialised shops (33%) or over the Internet (7%).
[W]hen asked how they had been informed about drugs issues in the past year, the Internet came in third position (39%), behind media campaigns (46%) and school prevention programmes (41%). However, figures show that the Internet has become a more significant drug-related information source than in 2008.
In terms of drug control and regulation, the majority of respondents (59%) still support cannabis prohibition, but this number has declined from 67% since 2008. Regarding new psychoactive substances, respondents indicated that these should be banned only if they pose a risk to health (47%) or be regulated in similar ways to alcohol or tobacco (15%). Around one third of respondents (34%) felt that these substances should be banned under any circumstances.
Released on the same day was a European Commission assessment of the EU’s mechanism for addressing new psychoactive substances entering the European market.2 The EMCDDA contributed to this report.
Forum on new drugs — reflections and conclusions
Cited from article by Charlie Lloyd, University of York, and Ana Gallegos, EMCDDA, in Drugnet Europe, No. 75, July–September 2011
The first international multidisciplinary forum on new drugs, organised by the EMCDDA in Lisbon from 11–12 May, brought together experts from a wide range of disciplines to discuss what might be described as a paradigm shift in our understanding of ‘the drug problem’.
Delegates came from all over the world to discuss how a broad range of new drugs – e.g. mephedrone, BZP and synthetic cannabinoids – had begun to be used in their countries and how policies had been developed in response. … [T]here was a strong impression of commonality. This was a global phenomenon, driven by the Internet, with striking similarities across the world in the names and packaging associated with these substances.
Another overriding impression from participants’ accounts was one of dynamism: as one new drug and its use subsided, another unrecognised substance emerged to replace it. While legal controls appeared to work in terms of suppressing production and use, by the time one of these drugs was on the legal schedule, clandestine chemists and producers had already moved on to producing alternative uncontrolled substances. …
Potential solutions discussed at the forum included: public health warnings in response to suspected dangers; working with the media to publicise harms; introducing general legislation that covered whole groups of substances; and using laws relating to medicines or consumer protection to put the legal onus of product safety on the producer. …
Perhaps with better foresight, experts could identify substances likely to become the new drugs of the future. The need to recognise potential problems more quickly was also underlined. Methods to identify new waves of use as they broke, rather than after the event, could include: monitoring Internet chatrooms; testing wastewater; and using information from hospital emergency departments and poison centres.
Drugnet Europe is the quarterly newsletter of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and is available at www.emcdda.europa.eu.
If you would like a hard copy of the current or future issues of either publication, please contact:
Health Research Board, Knockmaun House, 42–47 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 2345 148; Email: drugnet@hrb.ie


Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco), New psychoactive substance
Issue Title
Issue 39, Autumn 2011
Page Range
p. 26
Health Research Board
Issue 39, Autumn 2011
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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