Trends In Illicit Substance Use By Students and Young People In the European Union According to ESPAD
"Generally, between 1995 and 2011, there was an increase in the lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use, most of which occurred between 1995 and 1999. Since 2011, the prevalence has started to decrease slowly. The lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use among boys and girls follows a parallel trend, with the rate among girls being about 5-6 percentage points lower than that among boys (Figure 21). As cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug, the trend for lifetime cannabis use is similar to the trend for any illicit drug use, with rates of the former being only slightly lower across all years (Table 14). The prevalence rate of lifetime cannabis use among boys peaked in 2003, remained stable until 2011 and started to decrease thereafter. The prevalence rate of lifetime cannabis use among girls peaked in 2003 and stabilised thereafter (Figure 22). The rate of current (last-30-day) use of cannabis reached its highest level in 2011, stabilising thereafter, with gender differences of 2-3 percentage points across all years (Table 14 and Figure 23).
"Lifetime use of illicit drugs other than cannabis rose to a peak in 2007 (Table 14). After 2007, the rate decreased slightly until 2015 and then stabilised in 2019. The same trend is observed among boys and girls, with a gender gap of 1-2 percentage points across all years (Figure 24)."
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.