American Students More Than Twice as Likely to Use Illicit Drugs Than European Students

The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) released its wide-ranging report on drug use amongst European teens.  The results can be compared to those of University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future surveys in America, due to similarities in the methods and measures of the two surveys.  Comparison of the results illustrates a serious disparity in alcohol and drug use between teens in the U.S. and in Europe.  While 27% of Americans drank alcohol during the 30 days before the survey, the average rate among the 36 European countries of the ESPAD was 57% in the same time period.  Additionally, while 12% of American students reported smoking cigarettes in the 30 days leading up to the survey, 28% of European teens smoked cigarettes in the month prior to the survey.  On the other hand, the use of illicit drugs is quite different.  18% of American teens reported smoking marijuana or hashish in the past 30 days, while the average among European countries was only 7%.  Additionally, the proportion of American students aged 15 to 16 who report the use of any illicit drug other than marijuana in their lifetime was 16%, compared to 6% of students in Europe. 
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