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Most young Irish people think that cannabis should be legalised

A new study by the European Commission has also found that use of legal highs was three times the European average.

Image: Blind Nomad/Flickr

A NEW REPORT by the European Commission has found that the majority of people in Ireland between ages 15 and 24 support the legalisation of cannabis.

In the Eurobarometer Young People and Drugs Survey it was found that 56% of young people would support the regularisation of cannabis.

This would involve an age limit being set on buying the drug, having its active content concentration regulated and only making it available through licenced shops and pharmacies.

In the report, it was found that Irish youngsters were more than twice as likely to have smoked cannabis in the past 30 days when compared with the European average. In response, 16% of those in Ireland said they had used cannabis in the past month. The average across Europe is 7%.

Attitudes to alcohol here were also shown to be more lax than those in across Europe. Of those asked 42% thought regular alcohol intake to be dangerous. While this was an increase of 11% on the last survey in 2011 it is below the European average of 57%.

The survey also found that almost three times as many Irish youths used legal highs in comparison to their European counterparts. Of those asked, 22% said they had used ‘designer drugs’ in the 30 days before the survey. This was in comparison with an EU standard of 8%.

These legal highs are substances that aim to replicate the affects of traditional illegal drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and heroin.

health survey Source: European Commission

Class A drugs were strongly opposed by young people here and across Europe. In Ireland 93% were in favour of a complete ban on heroin compared with 96% in Europe. For cocaine, 91% of Irish youths were in favour of a ban, with this rising to 93% on the continent.

Aggressive anti-smoking campaigns in Ireland also appeared to be taking effect, with the survey showing that 23% of those here would be in preference to outlawing tobacco, compared to the 16% European average.

In June plans to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes were announced by then Minister for Health James Reilly.

The results were taken from a survey of 500 Irish young people. Across Europe, 13,130 were asked.

Read: Drug experts slam reports with ‘misleading statistics’ on legal high deaths

Also: Regular marijuana use is “bad for teens’ brains”

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