Designer drug abuse in the Balearics is twice the national average, according to the annual report on drug addiction which was presented yesterday by the Sa Nostra bank Social and Cultural department. Ecstasy and distinct derivatives of amphetamines are classified as designer drugs and are apparently used by 8.8 percent of the Balearic population - the majority of which are aged between 15 and 17. The first use of ecstasy was reported in Ibiza is the 80*s and since then, Spain has developed into the fourth biggest consumer of the drug in Europe. The Balearics also consumes more cocaine, cannabis and heroin that the rest of Spain all together. The study indicates that the use of cocaine is continuing to increase at a national level and the country is the second largest cocaine user in Europe with cocaine use in the Balearics having increased by six percent over the past few years. According to the report, 11.9 percent of the Balearic population uses cocaine, while the national average is 7.9 percent. Sa Nostra has also discovered that the biggest increase in the use of drugs is among teenage women. According to the director of Social and Cultural studies at Sa Nostra, Andreu Ramis, the trend for the immediate future is for an increase in the number of organisations dedicated to helping to treat drug abuse and addiction with a greater level of professionalism among those working for such organisations. In response to the alarming report, Sa Nostra has agreed to co-operate with six different organisations in the fight against drugs with the aim of eventually reducing the number of drug abusers and addicts in the Balearics. Just earlier this month the Bulletin reported on the tragic death of a young British man who lost his life, daughter and partner to heroin and destroyed a family as he fuelled his addiction in Majorca. The Balearics has for years been battling with some of the highest numbers of AIDS cases per capita in Spain, the majority being drug related and the report is bound to cause some serious concern for the local government and the authorities.

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