In the late 1990s alcohol, tobacco and cannabis were the substances most commonly used by youth worldwide…
- the use of substances (with the exception of inhalants in some regions) almost always increases with age, so among students the highest rate of use is generally recorded in the last 2 years of secondary school, continuing into early adulthood in most countries;
- in almost all regions boys are more likely than girls to use all substances (exceptions are the non-medical use of medications and alcohol and tobacco use in several European countries) and are more likely to use them in risky ways;
- rates of alcohol and tobacco use by students in Europe appear to be the highest in the world
- illicit drug use rates are highest among students in Australia and North America (Canada and the United States);
- the lowest rates of use for all substances appear to be in countries strongly influenced by Islam, where prohibitions are more likely to be clear and strictly enforced.
- recent data raise concern over the increased use of drugs among the young people worldwide. The data available show the prevalence among young people tends to be 3 or 4 times higher than among the general population.