Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 194

at a time when the number of young people
saying they have used legal highs has risen to
8% from 5% in 2011. The EMCDDA estimates
that one in four 15 to 16-year-olds have used
an illicit drug, adding that experimentation often
begins during schooling years.
Further findings in the study include that 17%
of respondents had used cannabis during the
last 12 months, and around 25% of
respondents ‘believed it would be easy to obtain
cocaine, new substances and ecstasy’. The
survey also found that the internet was the
‘most used source of information about illicit
drugs and drug use’. More than 13,000 citizens
aged 15-24 were interviewed across the EU for
the Eurobarometer survey.
EU research
The Commission is taking action to boost
detection and identification of new psychoactive
substances and the associated risks. The EU
institution has supported a number of research
projects under Horizon 2020’s predecessor, the
Seventh Framework Programme (FP7),
including ‘Addiction and lifestyles in
contemporary Europe – reframing addictions
project’, or ALICE RAP.
This project received just over €7.9m in funding
from FP7 and seeks to ‘analyse the challenges
posed by addictive legal and illegal substances
and lifestyles to the cohesion, organisation and
functioning of contemporary European society’,
according to the Commission. The project runs
from 2011 to 2016 and brings together more
than 100 scientists from over 25 countries in a
highly multidisciplinary venture. The project is
co-ordinated by Hospital Clinic Barcelona,
Spain, and includes 21 work packages.
Another venture funded by FP7 is the ‘Rapid
on-site forensic analysis of explosives and
narcotics’, or ROSFEN, project, a two-year study
that ended in March this year. Receiving €1.4m
from the Commission and co-ordinated by
University College Cork in Ireland, the five-
is estimated that 6,100 people die every year in the EU due
to a drug overdose. Furthermore, 1,700 people pass away
annually as a result of HIV/AIDS that is attributable to the use
of drugs, whilst 1,800 become infected with HIV due to drug abuse. The
statistics from the European Commission also reveal that more than
73 million people are reported to have used cannabis at least once in
their lifetime.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
(EMCDDA) has found that cocaine remains the most commonly used
illicit stimulant it. Europe, with an estimated 14.1 million European adults
using the drug. Furthermore, around 11.4 million adults have reportedly
used amphetamines at some point.
Data also reveals that the main users of illicit drugs are confined to
specific age groups. The Commission says that most illicit drug users
are aged between 20 and 30. However, figures also reveal that cannabis,
as well as some other drugs, is being increasingly used by teenagers
between the ages of 14 and 18.
Young use
According to a 2014 Eurobarometer survey, young Europeans are
becoming less informed about the effects and risks of drugs compared
to a few years ago. In the results of the ‘Young People and Drugs’
questionnaire, published in August, 29% of young people said they have
not been informed at all in the past year about the effects and risks of
so-called ‘legal highs’. In addition, compared to 2011, the survey found
that young people were much less likely to have received information
about the risks and effects of drugs from media campaigns and school
prevention programmes.
The results of the questionnaire, which was conducted by TNS Political
& Social at the request of DG Justice in the European Commission, come
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
Multipronged attack
As data reveals that young people are becoming less informed about the
harmful effects of illegal drugs,
assesses the multilevel response by the
EU, both in Europe and abroad
Most illicit drug users
are aged between 20
and 30, according to
the European
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