11-25 year olds are experimenting with drugs later than ten years ago. In question, in particular: the screens, which keep them away from opportunities.
As screens have invaded our daily lives, they have paradoxically kept young people away from drugs! This is one of the many conclusions to be drawn from the new summary book on the addictive practices of young people, published this Wednesday by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT). A document titled Youth and addictions, which analyzes in 208 pages the consumption paths of 12 million young people aged 11-25 and their impact, and which covers both legal and illegal products and addictions without products (video games, screens, gambling and ).
First bite at 15 years old
The document thus learns that young people tend to experience alcohol, tobacco and cannabis for the first time later than before. Thus, compared to 2005, experimentation starts on average eight months later for tobacco and four months later for cannabis, which is a “considerable” difference, notes the synthesis.
Today, the first drunkenness occurs at 15.2 years old, the first cigarette, at 14 years old and the first joint, at 15.3 years old, details a 2014 study included in the synthesis. According to the OFDT, one of the decline factors is the time spent in front of screens and on the internet.
“The generation born between 2000 and 2005, which is between 11 and 16 years old today, spends much more time connected to screens than the previous generation, which is likely to keep these young people away from a certain number of consume”, explains François Beck, director of the OFDT, quoted by AFP. In fact, the share of young people who go online daily has exploded in 12 years, from 23% in 2003 to 83% in 2015, the report points out.
Another factor relates to the change in behavior of parents, who remain the main role model for young adolescents up to the age of 12-13. These parents consume less alcohol and tobacco than previous generations, which influences young people’s perceptions of these products.
Last factor: public prevention policies, such as the ban on smoking in public places. According to the OFDT, it is not so much the effectiveness of each separate measure that is at the origin of this delay in the age of experimentation. But combined, they have contributed to modifying the environment of young people and to “denormalizing” tobacco.
At the same time, consumption has fallen: the monthly alcohol consumption of 15-year-olds fell from 58% in 2006 to 42% in 2014, daily smoking fell from 18% in 2006 to 15% in 2014, experimentation of cannabis at age 15 having remained stable at 28% between 2006 and 2014.