Young Icelanders use fewer drugs less frequently, smoke less and even drink less than other Europeans the same age, a new study shows.
The report, released by The European School Project On Alcohol And Other Drugs (ESPAD), measured use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes among young people across Europe, establishing an average, and then made a comparative analysis of those results on a country-by-country basis.
The results for Iceland show the following:
The Icelandic students reported rather moderate substance-use habits compared with the ESPAD average. In fact, the proportions of Icelandic students reporting use of cigarettes, use of alcohol and heavy episodic drinking in the past 30 days were only a third of the ESPAD averages. This was also the case for lifetime use of inhalants (3% versus 9%). Lifetime use of cannabis is also considerably lower for Iceland compared with the ESPAD average. Of the eight key variables studied, Iceland only touches the ESPAD average for two of the variables (non-prescription use of tranquillizers and alcohol volume consumed last drinking day). However, it should be emphasised that, by comparison, Icelandic students relatively seldom use any alcohol at all. In the ESPAD context, the overall impression is that Iceland definitely belongs to the group of countries where substance use is less common.
Data was collected throughout 2011. While Icelandic use of alcohol was in all cases significantly below the ESPAD average, the larger contrast was with regard to smoking, both tobacco and cannabis.