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European Commission. Directorate General for Justice and Home Affairs. Drugs Coordination Unit. (2004) Young people and drugs. Luxembourg: European Commission.

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This Eurobarometer survey is the result of a telephone questionnaire where 7,659 young people in 15 countries in the European Union were queried about drug use and their attitudes to substance misuse.

The results showed that most young (79%) European felt that drugs could easily be obtained at parties. The survey also showed higher exposure (50%) and personal consumption (33%) of cannabis than of other drugs and that curiosity is the main reason given for dabbling in drugs. Most young Europeans feel that all drugs are dangerous, but opinions are very mixed depending on the product. One young person in three sees a link between the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Half agree that drug takers should have access to cheap needles and syringes. 53% call for a more caring attitude and for easier integration into the community. Punitive measures against dealers and producers are deemed particularly important. The Internet is increasingly used as a source of information.

Ireland was above the EU average regarding ease of access to drugs (86%), with only Spain (65%) reporting higher levels of young people knowing someone who uses drugs other than cannabis (60% in Ireland, EU average of 47%). Ireland also has the highest figure (22%) for young people experimenting with drugs other than cannabis, with an EU average of 10%.

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