One quarter of Italian teens has tried cannabis

More and more Italian teenagers are experimenting with cannabis, with almost one in four having tried the drug at least once in the past year, a new government report on drug addiction has found.

One quarter of Italian teens has tried cannabis
The study found that almost one in four Italian teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 had tried cannabis in the past year. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP

The annual study, which was conducted by the Department of Anti-drug Policy based on 31,661 students, found that 23,46 percent of teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 had tried cannabis in the past year.

This figure shows a rise of two percentage points since 2013 when that number was 21.56 percent, La Stampa reported.

Fewer students, however, were found to have tried hard drugs such as cocaine (1.58 percent compared with 2.05 percent in 2013) and heroin (down to 0.21 percent from 0.36 percent).

Consumption of cannabis across the population was also found to have increased.

Citing data from the analysis of sewage in 17 Italian cities, the report found there to be a 10.96 percent increase in the concentration of cannabis.

The concentration of other drugs, however, remained stable.

The number of drug-related deaths, meanwhile, continues to decline with 344 deaths reported in 2013 compared with 1,000 in 1999.

While recreational consumption of cannabis is illegal in Italy, the use of marijuana continues to gain support in Italy.

Earlier this month, the Italian government announced plans to produce medical marijuana in a military factory in Florence.

READ MORE: Italian army moves to produce cannabis drugs

The study also looked at gambling addiction among Italians, which was found to have increased significantly since 2012.

In 2013 a total of 6,800 people were found to be suffering from gambling addiction, 1,000 more than the previous year.

The majority were men (83.2 percent), with the highest number seeking treatment in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto.

The report also found that young people are being increasingly drawn towards gambling, accounting for 3.8 percent of gambling addicts. 

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