A recent study, carried out by the Instituto da Droga e Toxicodependência (IDT), revealed that the Algarve region has the highest percentage of students that have experimented with cannabis, ecstasy and heroin – a situation that is causing great concern throughout the entire school community.
According to the study, children of 16 years old and younger are not ashamed to pull out packets of cigarettes and smoke outside their school in front of everybody. A 16-year-old boy, seen smoking outside an Algarve school, was interviewed and explained: “My parents smoke and many of my friends do too,” he hesitated a little and then admitted: “Worst though are the ‘spliffs’ and the other drugs that circulate around here.” The boy admitted that he started smoking last year, “because it gives me a bit of style”. He is just one of the thousands of pupils who are contributing to the Algarve reaching top of the national list for the consumption of drugs in schools (legal and illegal).
According to the IDT study, the consumption of drugs among students between 16 and 18 years old has gone through the roof in the last eight years. Based on a national enquiry carried out in Portugal’s schools, the percentage of students taking drugs has increased from 6.5 per cent to 12 per cent. The research has shown a general increase in the use of substances such as cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, LSD and heroin, as well as tobacco and alcohol.