THE TOP 3 DRUGS/ ALCOHOL
source:UN, The World Youth Report 2003,
Beverage alcohol is the addictive substance most widely consumed by youth worldwide…
- Australia, Ontario & Canada: 65% of 14-19-year-olds reported alcohol use (2000);
- according to a national survey*, in the United States among youth (aged 12-17), 17.7% currently drink, 10.6 are binge drinkers (they drink just at parties or eating out), and 2.6 are heavy drinkers. Unexpectedly, girls who drink currently are more (18.3) than boys (17.1). However, among heavy drinkers boys are 2.9% and girls 2.3%;
- Central & South America (during the past decade): from 37.8% among 15-19-year-olds in the Dominican Republic, to 43.8% among urban secondary school students in Sao Paulo, Brazil;
- Africa (during the past decade): between 8.8% among 10-14-year-old students in Lesotho and 42% among those attending secondary school in Kenya;
- Asia (during the past decade): current-use figures are largely unavailable; however, a study of children and youth aged 10-17 years in Nepal found that 17% had used alcohol in the past year and 9.2% in the past month. In a study of vocational students in Thailand, 92.5% of males and 80.5% of females reported alcohol use in the past 3 months. Survey reports indicate that 70% of senior high school students** in Japan and 80% in China had used alcohol at least once. In all regions, use increases with age;
- in developed countries, females are about as likely as males to be current users, while in developing countries males are more likely to be current users. In virtually all countries, males are more likely to use in problematic ways; however, there are indications of a shift in this pattern;
- in Europe and North America, alcohol-use patterns among youth appear to be converging with respect to beverages of choice (beer and other low-alcohol drinks) and the growing tendency to drink to intoxication. In the UK in 2000, for example, just under 2/3 of young men aged 20-24 years drank hazardously, and just under 1/3 of young women aged 16-19 years did so.
What are the effects?
- The effects of alcohol abuse range from a mild hang over to mass destruction, disease and deaths on a huge scale. Alcohol use in moderation has little or no ill effects either for the user or those around them. But the misuse of what has become one of the world's most dangerous drugs takes a devastating toll on both the drinker and on society as a whole. Worldwide alcohol causes 1.8 million deaths (3.2% of total) and 58.3 million (4% of total) of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs).
- Unintentional injuries alone account for about 1/3 of the 1.8 million deaths, while neuro-psychiatric conditions account for close to 40% of the 58.3 million DALYs.
* Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Results from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H–25, DHHS Publication No. SMA 04–3964). Rockville, MD
** Students aged 15-16 (roughly equivalent to grade 10).