A presentation took place on 15 April 2008 at the Hilton Hotel in Sofia of the international comparative study among pupils ‘Investigation on life and conditions of life of young people in Europe’, part of an international programme ‘Youth in Europe’ within the framework of the ‘European cities against drugs’ project (ECAD).
Nine European cities participated in the investigation held in 2006: Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda (Lithuania), Oslo (Norway), Reykjavik (Iceland), Riga (Latvia), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Helsinki (Finland).
Collection of data in Sofia took place during the period 8-19.11.2006. Covered were 2814 pupils aged 15-16 from 156 classes in 80 schools.
The investigation was realized by the Sofia Municipality Center for Addictions with the help of the National Focal Point on Drugs and Drug Addictions and partners from various metropolitan municipalities.
Ms Alexandrina Alexova from the Sofia PIC acquainted the attending ministers, politicians, experts in the field of drug addictions and media with the main points of the study and Mr. Momchil Vassilev (NFP Director) presented the results:
- Almost ¾ of pupils in Sofia (71.2%) have smoked tobacco at least once in their life;
- About 1/3 of the pupils (31.0%) smoke at the time of the study (at least one cigarette per day);
- Nearly every sixth pupil that have smoked ever (10.3% of all inquired) has smoked tobacco for the first time at an age lower than 12 years.
- More than half of the pupils in Sofia (59.0%) have drunk alcohol more than twice during the last month;
- About 1/3 of the pupils (32%) have got drunk at least once during the last month;
- Beer was the type of alcohol most used en masse during the last month (70.5% of the pupils have drunk beer), vine occupies the second position (50.5%); 44.9% have drunk hard liquor;
- Almost every sixth pupil of those interviewed (16.5%) has drunk alcohol for the first time at an age lower than 12 years;
- Almost half of the interviewed pupils (43.4%) have got drunk for the first time at an age before 14 years inclusive;
- More than ¼ of Sofia’s pupils (27.6%) have used at least once in their life any illicit narcotic substance;
- Almost every seventh pupil (14.2%) has used cannabis more than 5 times in his/her life;
- Nearly every eighth pupil (12.8%) has tried cannabis for the first time in his/her life at an age lower than 14 years inclusive.
The first analyses in the international investigation marked several conclusions that are indicative in the comparative level:
- Pupils in Sofia hold the top position among all 9 participating European cities by the symptom ‘got drunk at least once during the past 30 days’ (33.8%);
- Pupils in Sofia hold the second from top position among all 9 participating European cities by the symptom ‘tobacco smoking on a daily basis’ (32.6%);
- Pupils in Sofia occupy the second from top position among all 9 participating European cities by having used cannabis at least once in their life (27.3%);
- The most frequently mentioned places for alcohol drinking sometimes or often among pupils in Sofia are: at someone other’s home (48.1%), in clubs/discotheques/bars (44.0%) or any other place outside home (41.2%);
- Pupils in Sofia hold the lowest position among all 9 participating European cities by circulating the statement that they rarely or almost never spend time off-school with their parents during business days (23.9%) or the weekends (17.2%).
Together with the international comparative study also presented were the results from a Sofia city inquiry among pupils, as an extension to the international and continuation of the sequence of city representative investigations among pupils of the city of Sofia since 1993 to date.
Collection of data thereunder took place within the same period with 5181 pupils of high school age (9-13th form) covered from 262 classes in 99 schools.
Some basic results from the city investigation:
- About ¾ of the pupils in Sofia (74.7%) have smoked tobacco at least once in their life;
- Every third pupil (36.2%) smoked at the time of the study (at least one cigarette per day), with almost half of them (17.3%) or every sixth pupils) smoking more than half a box of cigarettes per day, on the average;
- Nearly ¼ of those that have smoked ever (16.7% of all interviewed pupils) have smoked cigarettes for the first time at an age before 12 inclusive, while 18.0% of the pupils have started smoking cigarettes on a daily basis at an age before 14 years inclusive;
- Nearly every sixth pupil (16.7%) gets drunk regularly according to his/her admission, almost ¾ (72.9%) had got drunk at least once in their life;
- Two of every five interviewed pupils (38.7%) have got drunk for the first time at an age lower than 14 years inclusive;
- About 1/3 of the interviewed pupils (33.5%) have used some kind of illicit narcotic substance at least once in their life;
- Cannabis is the most widely used illicit narcotic substance (30.0%), followed by the amphetamines (8.6%), ecstasy (5.9%), cocaine (5.3%), other opiates besides the heroin (5.3%) and other;
- Nearly every ninth interviewed pupil (11.2%) has used cannabis during the past 30 days, followed by the amphetamines (3.4%), ecstasy (2.0%) and other;
- About 1/5 of the pupils are potential consumers of illicit narcotic substances – 6.0% would try if proposed by a friend, 13.4% hesitate but do not reject the possibility;
- According to the self-evaluations about half of the interviewed pupils (45.2%) most of or almost all friends smoke cigarettes, most of or almost all friends of more than 1/3 of the interviewed pupils (36.8%) get drunk at least once every month, most of or almost all friends of every eleventh interviewed pupil (9.3%) smoke marihuana.
At the end the Director of the Sofia Municipality Center for Addictions – Dr. Dorita Krusteva made a presentation on some preventive activities and programmes of the Center directed towards young people abusing with psychoactive substances and their families.