Millions of Germans have an addiction problem

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Federal government drug report: Millions of Germans have an addiction problem

Young people in Germany consume less and less alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, according to the Federal Government's 2011 drug and addiction report published in Berlin on Tuesday. According to the drug and addiction report, the consumption of so-called soft drugs among young people has dropped significantly since 2004, but overall millions of Germans still have an addiction problem.

Almost one in four Germans is struggling with addiction problems, according to the 2011 drug and addiction report. But the development among young people can be expected to be positive. Because the tobacco, alcohol and cannabis consumption of adolescents has decreased continuously in recent years. Alcohol abuse among adolescents continues to be a major headache for the federal government drug commissioner, Mechthild Dyckmans (FDP). Because although the adolescents used the bottle less frequently, the number of so-called coma drinkers has increased significantly.

Alcohol consumption among young people is becoming increasingly worrying Experts are currently worrying the most about alcohol consumption among adolescents, the Federal Government's drug commissioner explained. Because despite the overall decline in consumption, the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations among young people has increased massively in recent years. In 2009, around 26,400 adolescents between the ages of ten and 20 had to be treated for alcohol abuse in the hospital, which corresponds to an increase of 2.8 percent over the previous year. In 2010, only 13 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds reported drinking alcohol at least once a week, compared to 21 percent in 2004. However, the decline in consumers appears to be offset by a significantly higher alcohol consumption per capita, as the increase in alcohol-related hospital deliveries shows. It is not only the alcohol consumption in general that is problematic, but that the adolescents apparently use the alcohol primarily as an intoxicant and not as a luxury drink. Overall, the Federal Government's Drugs Commissioner assesses alcohol consumption in Germany as extremely critical, since Germans with an average of ten liters of pure alcohol per capita are at the forefront internationally in international comparison. Around 1.3 million people in this country are dependent on alcohol, the drug commissioner Mechthild Dyckmans reported.

Cannabis and tobacco consumption decline significantly According to the 2011 Drug and Addiction Report, tobacco and cannabis use among young people has developed much more favorably than alcohol consumption. Because here the positive numbers are not marred by increased hospital deliveries or the like. The proportion of young smokers between the ages of ten and 20 has dropped from 23 percent in 2001 to 13 percent in 2010. At the same time, the proportion of cannabis users (adolescents who have used cannabis in the past twelve months) fell from 10 percent in 2004 to five percent in the previous year, according to the drug and addiction report. According to the drug commissioner Mechthild Dyckmans, the decline in cannabis use is at least partly due to the higher number of non-smokers among young people. Because if you don't smoke cigarettes, the expert estimates that you don't smoke as often. The growing proportion of non-smokers has positive effects on cannabis use. According to the 2011 Drug and Addiction Report, 68 percent of underage adolescents stated that they had never smoked in their lives, whereas the proportion of non-smokers in 2001 was only 41 percent.

Unanswered questions in the Drugs and Addiction Report 2011 Despite the encouraging figures on alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use among young people in Germany, the Federal Government's Drugs Commissioner sees no reason to give the all-clear. The goal should also be to "convince even more young people that addictive drugs and drugs are not a leisure activity and not a problem solver," emphasized Dyckmans. Above all, developments in the area of ​​alcohol consumption must continue to be closely monitored due to the increasing tendencies towards binge drinking. In addition, the drug and addiction report does not show whether the adolescents may be replacing the known addictive substances with newer, sometimes over-the-counter substances and thus exposing themselves to other health risks that are by no means negligible. In addition, the current drug and addiction report says little about the possible causes of problematic consumption behavior among young people. Why the adolescents let themselves go to the point of senselessness when they drink alcohol is not discussed. Experts have long suspected that there is a connection between the individual burden and the tendency to excessive alcohol consumption. Stress at school, with parents, friends or girlfriends are mentioned here as essential influencing factors. (fp)

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