44% of students who use cannabis repeat a year

Egbert Haynes
44% of students who use cannabis repeat a year

According to the ESTUDES (State Survey on Drug Use in Secondary Education) of 2016, 44% of adolescents and young people (14-18 years old) who use cannabis repeated an academic year during the last year. Cannabis is the illegal drug most consumed by adolescents and young people in Spain and in the European Union.

"The use of cannabis derivatives is a clear school risk factor. Several studies conclude that the negative effects of cannabis on attention, memory and learning can last for days or weeks," confirmed Jordi Royo Isach, clinical director of Amalgama- 7, the Catalan institution specialized in preventive, educational and therapeutic work with adolescents, young people and their families. The latest state report on drug use in secondary education provides, among others, that an association can be established between the variables of cannabis use and poorer school performance.

"Aware of the increase in the problem of mental health and addictions in adolescence and the impact of this fact in adulthood, the Cluster Salud Mental Cataluña (CSMC) has had Amalgama, an entity specialized in this subject, because it will provide us with a brushstroke of actuality ", affirmed Pere Bonet, president of the Cluster Mental Health Catalonia.

In Spain, 29.1% of young people and adolescents declare having used cannabis at some point in their life and 18.6% have done so in the last 30 days. In 1994, the number of users in the last month reached 12.4%, which implies an increase of 6.2% in young and adolescent cannabis users in the last 22 years. In this sense, in the last two decades, there has been an upward trend in the risky use of cannabis derivatives. Jordi Royo has broken down some of the causes of this increase in consumption: "Currently, the proliferation of cannabis clubs and marijuana plantations both in large rural areas and in private urban settings have generated greater accessibility to this substance. add the decrease in the risk perception of cannabis use, which in recent surveys has been perceived as less dangerous than tobacco ".

Studies warn about the risks of cannabis use in mental health: it can lead to psychotic outbreaks (depending on the amount and genetic predisposition) and the risk of generating schizotypal or schizophrenic disorders. Regarding the academic field, this consumption can cause difficulties that can lead to failure and school dropout. Similarly, in the workplace it can cause problems in concentration and maintenance of activity.

The latest EPAD study ("Survey of Secondary Education Teachers on Drugs and Other Addictions in Spain") from the Spanish Observatory on Drugs shows that 4 out of 10 teachers have seen students smoke cannabis outside of school and 1 out of 10 teachers inside the same school. There are also 10% of teachers who have observed students under the influence of drugs in class or inside the school. "The best way to treat a cannabis use disorder, as well as other disorders and risk behaviors in adolescents and young people, is a treatment program in a specialized center, with an interdisciplinary team that offers clinical, academic and socio-educational care", Jordi Royo concluded.

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