"Cannabis is perceived to be the easiest illicit substance to get hold of, with around one third of ESPAD students (32 %) rating cannabis as easily obtainable. More students in the Netherlands, Denmark, Czechia, Slovenia and Slovakia than in the other ESPAD countries perceived cannabis to be easily available (rates from 45 % to 51 %). The countries with the lowest perceived availability of cannabis were Kosovo (11 %), Ukraine (13 %), Romania (16 %) and North Macedonia (19 %). Boys were more likely than girls to consider cannabis to be easily available (ESPAD average: 34 % for boys versus 30 % for girls).

"Compared with cannabis, perceived availability was low for ecstasy (MDMA) (14 %), cocaine (13 %), amphetamine (10 %) and methamphetamine (8.5 %). These drugs were perceived to be more easily available in Bulgaria, Sweden and Denmark than elsewhere in Europe.

"The perceived availability of ecstasy was highest (over 20 %) in Slovakia, Czechia, Slovenia and the Netherlands, whereas for cocaine it was highest in Denmark and Ireland (22 % each). The countries with the lowest perceived availability of nearly all illicit drugs were Kosovo, Georgia and Romania.

"On average, 2.4 % of the ESPAD students reported having used cannabis for the first time at age 13 or younger. The highest proportions were found in France (4.5 %), Italy (4.4 %), Latvia (3.8 %), Cyprus (3.6 %) and Estonia (3.5 %). Rates of early onset of amphetamine/methamphetamine use were lower (ESPAD average: 0.5 %), with the highest proportion in Bulgaria (1.8 %). Boys were more likely than girls to have used cannabis or amphetamine/ methamphetamine at age 13 or younger. Similar results were found for early onset of ecstasy and cocaine use.

"The average prevalence of lifetime use of illicit drugs was 17 %, with considerable variation across ESPAD countries. It should be noted that this mainly relates to cannabis use (average lifetime prevalence of 16 %). The highest proportions of students reporting lifetime use of any illicit drug were found in Czechia (29 %), Italy (28 %), Latvia (27 %) and Slovakia (25 %). Particularly low levels (10 % or less) of lifetime illicit drug use were noted in Kosovo, Iceland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Serbia, Sweden, Norway, Greece and Romania."


ESPAD Group (2020), ESPAD Report 2019: Results from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, EMCDDA Joint Publications, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.