Balearic students are among the largest users of cannabis in Spain and in general, drug use in the region is above all the national averages. The somewhat startling facts were revealed by the Balearic “drug czar” Miquel Amengual, addressing the infancy and teenager risk conference in Palma yesterday. Over the course of this year, the Balearic government has conducted a series of surveys in to drug abuse and while alcohol consumption by students is three points below the national average, students in the Balearics use more cannabis, ecstasy, heroin and other hallucinogens than in most other parts of the country. Miquel Amengual said that the two main reasons for the high level of drug abuse are the vast amount of night life on offer and the high spending power of Balearic youth. Amengual added that another key factor is that “young people, in general, are no longer scared of drugs.” “Some people do not know what it is to go out clubbing without taking some form of drug,” a phenomenon which representatives from the 19 countries attending the conference agreed is extremely worrying. The Balearic government unveiled plans for a 42 million pesetas drug prevention campaign and the Director General for Youth Services, Carles Caules, said that combating recreational drug abuse in the Balearics is his department's biggest challenge. According to the report, 34 per cent of teenagers in the Balearics smoke “joints” occasionally and 4.2 per cent admitted to having sniffed cocaine in the past month. And 1.2 per cent of Balearic students have experienced with heroin, slightly higher than the national average of 0.9 per cent.

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