Danish youngsters get drunk most, their Czech peers like to smoke cannabis, the Irish are more prone to binge-drinking and young Turks are the cleanest-living in Europe, according to a new survey.
The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD), looking at the drinking, smoking and drug-taking habits of youngsters around the age of 16 from 35 countries in 2003, was released on Tuesday. The poll showed that 36 percent of Danish kids had been drunk 20 times or more in their lifetime, with the next highest being the Irish at 30 percent. Fifty percent of Danish youngsters had also consumed alcohol 40 times or more in their lifetime, compared with 48 percent of young Austrians and 46 percent of young Czechs. The Netherlands topped the league of those who had drunk alcohol 10 times or more in the last 30 days, at 25 percent. Binge drinking, defined as five drinks in a row, was most common in Ireland with 32 percent of respondents, followed by the Dutch and Germans at 28 percent and Britain and the Isle of Mann at 27 percent. Czech youngsters were most likely to consume cannabis, at 44 percent, followed by the Swiss at 40 percent. The most abstemious youngsters were in mainly Muslim Turkey, which came lowest in consumption in most of the categories. The survey, coordinated by Sweden’s Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs, was done via questionnaires filled in anonymously by students in the classroom. The sample size varied from 555 in Greenland to 6,000 in Poland. The average age was 15.8 years.(Source: European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs: Reuters Health: December 2004.)