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NEWS | Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Malta retains low lifetime cannabis use – narcotics report

Cannabis continues to be the most widely used drug in Europe, but Malta retains one of the lowest levels for lifetime prevalence of usage.
The annual report compiled by the International Narcotics Control Board, calls for governments to take stronger measures against drugs, in particular cannabis.
In European countries, lifetime prevalence of cannabis abuse ranges from 2 to 37%, the lowest rates being in Bulgaria, Malta and Romania and the highest rates being in Denmark, France, Italy and the United Kingdom (37%).
Lifetime prevalence (LTP) is the number of individuals in a statistical population that at some point in their life (up to the time of assessment) used drugs, compared to the total number of individuals.
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, about 71 million people aged 15-64 years have tried cannabis in their lifetime and about 7% have used it in the past year.
Schoolchildren aged 15-16 in the UK top the list for use of cannabis with 44% having tried it once. France, Spain, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Belgium are the other countries where schoolchildren have high rates of use.
The countries where there is least use among schoolchildren are Greece, Cyprus and Romania. However, cannabis use among all schoolchildren in England dropped from 13% to 9% between 2001 and 2007.
The prevalence of cannabis abuse in the past year is about 7% among European adults (persons aged 15-64). National estimates of the prevalence of cannabis abuse in the past year range from 1 to 11%, the lowest rates being in Bulgaria, Greece and Malta (1%), and the highest rates being in the Czech Republic, Spain and Italy (11%).



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