Skip Page Header

Home > Trends in the use of mind-altering drugs among European adolescents during the Great Recession.

Balbo, Nicoletta and Carpella, Piergiorgio and Toffolutti, Veronica (2020) Trends in the use of mind-altering drugs among European adolescents during the Great Recession. Health Policy , 124 , (5) , pp. 568-574. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2020.03.004.


Despite the growing evidence of health-responses to macroeconomic fluctuations, little research has been carried out on the economic reflexes of licit and illicit drug-consumption, especially among teenagers. This paper uses data on adolescents between 15 and 17 years old from 25 European countries to test, if and how, the substance-use pattern has changed during the Great Recession. The data come from two cross-sectional waves (2007 and 2011) of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) (n= 137,989 individuals). One percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with an increase [decrease] in the probability of having tried inhalants and cocaine [ecstasy] at least once, by about 0.005 (95% CI: 0.004, 0.006) and 0.001 (95% CI: 0.0001, 0.001) [-0.001 (95% CI: -0.001, -0.001)] respectively. Social protection expenditure reduces the use of inhalants, whereas ecstasy consumption rises. The pattern for cocaine is unclear.

Click here to request a copy of this literature (must be logged in)

Repository Staff Only: item control page