Experts are concerned at the increase in access to drugs among teenagers who are unaware of the health dangers
Girls are being exposed to cannabis and alcohol at an increasingly young age with some as young as 13 beginning to try these substances. This is according to experts who took part in a drug abuse conference that took place in the Turismo Andaluz building in Malaga. More than 100 specialists and professionals attended the event.
The experts revealed the most recent figures concerning drug taking habits among young people which show an increase in alcohol consumption (which is more intensive at weekends) and cannabis, with many starting between the ages of 13 and 16. Girls have a very similar behaviour to boys when taking these substances.
Another important issue is that in spite of being aware of the physical, psychological and social consequences of consuming drugs, young people have a low perception of the risks involved.
Health professionals stressed the need to show youngsters the negative effects of drugs. Early therapeutic treatment is also used to prevent drug taking - a policy that has a 60 per cent success rate according to the director of Centro Monte Alminara, Nuria García. Experts advocated the need to promote prevention, awareness and early treatment to combat the rise of consumption patterns among young people.
The conference was attended by experts including: Santiago Delgado Bueno, a forensic surgeon and specialist in psychiatry and the ex-director of the Agencia Antidroga de la Comunidad de Madrid; Herminio Mailló, a magistrate who suggested the idea of providing compulsory treatment for underage drug users; Matthew Powell, international expert in drug addiction and director of addiction treatment for the United States Armed Forces; and José Luis Gómez ‘Pepe El Marismeño’, director of Seville’s Instituto Galeno and well-known flamenco artist who shared with the audience his personal experience of drug addiction.
The inauguration of the event was attended by Malaga government delegate, José Luis Ruiz Espejo, and the director of the Instituto Andaluz de la Juventud, Raúl Perales. Both agreed on the need to continue investing in campaigns and services to combat drug use.
Ruiz Espejo drew attention to the drug prevention programme ‘DINO’ that is aimed at students between 10-12 and began in the 2012-13 academic year. So far, a total of 3,479 students in Malaga have taken part in the scheme.