GIOVENTU » 4 million Italians have used illegal substances in the past year

4 million Italians have used illegal substances in the past year

Four million Italians have used drugs during the last year.

About 10% of the Italian population in the 15 to 64 age group have taken illegal substances, at least once in the last year. 87% have taken one substance, 13% two kinds or more. The most common are cannabis and cocaine. This is what emerged from the last report presented by the department of anti-drugs policies to the Parliament on drug addiction.


The report underlined that the consumption of at least one illegal substance regarded about 20% of young adults aged 15-34, that is more than two and a half million people, and the multiple consumers were over 330 thousand people aged 15-34. A greater prevalence of psychoactive substances is found among males (males 12.5%; females 7.1%). In the younger age group the difference is (24.6% males compared to 14.5% of females). The survey, of 700 pages, has also studied some other aspects, such as the period of the first intake: about four in ten have had their first experience of drugs under the age of 15 and two out of three from 13 to 16 years. The first experience, for those developing in the future a problematic consumption, takes place mostly before the age of 18.


32% of Italians have tried cannabis at least once in their life, a little over 12 and a half million people. An incidence that arrives at 40% if we consider the age group 15-34, reaching more than 5 million first takers among young people. Cannabis is also the most used substance in the 15-64 years old in the last twelve months, used by 9.2%. In the last month drugs use involved over a million and a half people (4.4%) and nearly 400 thousand said they had taken cannabis frequently. Cannabis is the most widely used substance among the younger population (aged 15-34): among these, about 2 and a half million have consumed it in the last year (19%), almost 1 million and 200 thousand last month (8, 9%) and 250 thousand can be defined regular users (1.9%).


Cocaine is, after cannabis, the most common illicit drug. It is estimated that nearly 3 million Italians have used it at least once in their life (7.6%) and over 430 thousand Italians have used it in the last year (1.1%), 240 thousand of which are 15-34 years old, and for the majority males. Cocaine was chosen also because it is easy to buy and consume.  


Half a million Italians aged 15-64 (4.1%) said they had consumed at least once stimulants (such as amphetamines, ecstasy, MDMA) and slightly less (3.7%) took hallucinogens (LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, ketamine), almost a third of them aged between 15 and 34 years (4.3%). 


The turnover exceed 23 billion Euros. Sign that the consumption and trafficking of drugs continues unabated. Although the number of reports to the judicial authorities has fallen and the seizures increased. In 2014 were seized over 152 thousand kilograms of drugs (+ 111% compared to the previous year). 

Giulia Lombardo

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