Thanks to the internet, young Czechs are taking less drugs, says new survey

Young Czechs are also smoking and drinking less as their activities of choice have shifted to the online world

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 03.09.2020 13:07 (updated on 03.09.2020)

Prague, Sept 3 (CTK) – Young Czechs smoke less, drink less alcohol, and take fewer narcotics, according to the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) results released today.

The drop in smoking and drug and alcohol consumption is apparently thanks to growing interest in online communication at the expense of personal contacts with peers.

In addition, parents have greater control of their children thanks to modern technologies, says the study, unveiled by the government drug policy council.

If 16-year teenagers have experience with some narcotics, they gain it later than before. They have a growing interest in electronic cigarettes and energy drinks, the study found out.

The ESPAD survey has been held in four-year intervals since 1995, focusing on risk behaviour of the teenagers aged 15-16.

This year, it was held for the seventh times, in 35 countries.

In the Czech Republic, 2,778 students born in 2003 from 255 elementary and secondary schools took part in the survey.

The results of the international comparison will be published in November.

The proportion of 16-year Czechs who smoke daily fell from 16.5 to 10 percent between 2015 and 2019. In 2011, one-quarter of the 16-year-old was smoking daily.

Since 2007, the proportion of the youths who drink alcohol in a restaurant or at a disco fell from about 84 percent to 41.5 percent. The number of those buying alcohol in shops also plummeted, from 42 percent to 28 percent since 2011. The values of the observed indicators in the use of narcotics fell back to the level reached in the mid-1990s.

Many activities of the youths shifted to the Internet. Around 98 percent of the 16-year-old surf on it at least once a week.

The proportion of the teenagers going out for entertainment with friends in the evening fell from 43 percent in 1995 to 13 percent last year.

Now they communicate mostly online with their peers, spending more time at home. There is a lower likelihood of their drinking alcohol, smoking and drug-taking.

Roughly one-tenth is threatened with computer games addiction and one-third with social networks addiction.

In the past years, there has been growing interest in electronic cigarettes that contain harmful substances, similar to usual cigarettes. While in 2016, they were tried at least once by 43.7 percent of the 16-year-old, the share rose to 60.4 percent by last year.

Energy drinks have also gained popularity in recent years. Last year, 29.4 percent of the 16-year-old drank them at least three times a month. Students often combine the energy drinks with alcohol. Frequent consumption of energy drinks among teenagers may bring about defects in behavior, stress and sleep, experts have warned.

There is also a growing number of the teenagers who regularly practice some sport. About 77 percent of 16-year-olds did so at least once a week in 2019.