Sunday, 20 April 2014

Young Czechs' consumption of cannabis declines in 2011

5 December 2012

Prague, Dec 4 (CTK) - The use of drugs, mainly cannabis, by young Czechs declined in 2011, while in the overall population the drugs use rate remained stable, according to the annual report the national drug and drug addition monitoring centre released Tuesday.

The number of problem users is on the rise, the report states.

The most often used drugs are cannabis-based substances, mainly marijuana, the use of which in the Czech Republic is one of the highest in Europe.

In 2010, cannabis-based substances were taken by over 20 percent of Czechs aged from 15 to 34, compared to 16.1 percent in 2011.

The use of ecstasy dropped from 3.9 percent in 2010 to 2.6 percent in 2011.

The decline is not that sharp with the broad category of people aged from 15 to 64. The use of cannabis declined from 9.7 to 8.3 percent year-on-year and ecstasy from 2.2 to 1.5 percent.

The recent European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) showed that though drug and alcohol use rate among Czech children is still one of the highest in Europe, their use of cannabis declined for the first time last year.

There are several causes behind the improving situation. Prevention has improved, and in the case of ecstasy, its use has declined because this drug ceased to be "in," the drug monitoring centre Viktor Mravcik said.

"In 2011, the estimated number of problematic drug users...slightly increased again, to 40,200 people, including 38,600 intravenous drug users. The increase mainly involves the users of pervitin (methamphetamine, 30,900), while the number of opiate users further declined (to 9300)," the report says.

In 2010, the number of problem drug users was one thousand lower and the number of intravenous users reached 37,200. On the other hand, the number of opiate users reached 11,000, which was 1700 more than in 2011.

According to Mravcik's estimation, the number of heroine users in the Czech Republic has dropped by a half in the past decade.

However, experts registered the presence of home-made opiate brown last year for the first time after 20 years.

Contagious diseases have not spread much among drug addicts, Mravcik said.

"The number of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C cases is still low among drug users, including intravenous ones," Mravcik said.

The number of deaths of drug overdose has plummeted as well, from 55 in 2010 to 28 last year, he said.

The number of drug related crimes continued rising in 2011. A total of 2798 people were prosecuted for production, smuggling and sale of pervitin and cannabis, compared to 2377 in 2011.

A slight improvement in the drug area was registered in the Czech Republic last year in spite of the 10-percent cut in the state spending on it. Over 563 million crowns were spent on it in 2011.

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