Recent findings from the HSBC survey reveal that around 50% of schoolchildren in Cyprus have tried alcohol at least once, and 7% of 15-year-olds have experimented with cannabis. These alarming statistics have prompted the education ministry to implement interventions and supportive programs to combat substance use among minors.
What are the recent findings on youth substance use in Cyprus?
Recent findings from the HSBC survey reveal that around 50% of schoolchildren in Cyprus have tried alcohol at least once. The survey also highlights a misconception about e-cigarettes’ safety and reports that 7% of 15-year-olds have experimented with cannabis. These alarming statistics have prompted the education ministry to implement interventions and supportive programs to combat substance use among minors.
A Glimpse into Youth Substance Use in Cyprus
The serene Mediterranean island of Cyprus is facing a challenging situation, as recent findings shed light on the behaviors of its younger population. The HSBC survey on health behavior in school-age children has unveiled a somewhat unsettling trend: around 50% of schoolchildren in Cyprus have tasted alcohol at least once. This revelation has rung alarm bells among health officials and educators alike.
Survey Insights on Substance Use
The HBSC Cyprus survey, a comprehensive study conducted every four years across 51 countries globally, aims to assess the patterns of substance use among youngsters. Specifically targeting the age groups of 11, 13, and 15, the survey encompasses a crucial transition from the twilight of primary education to the cusp of adulthood in upper secondary school.
In Cyprus, this significant research is spearheaded by the education ministry’s centre for educational research and evaluation, ensuring a robust methodology and actionable findings. The inaugural main survey wave in 2021-2022 involved a substantial cohort of approximately 4,800 students, rendering its conclusions particularly noteworthy.
The Downward Trend Not All Reassuring
Elena Hadjikakou, the deputy director of the pedagogical institute, expressed her concerns to the Cyprus News Agency. She pointed out that even though a declining pattern in children’s alcohol consumption can be seen, the current figures remain disconcertingly high. A striking 73% of first-year lyceum students disclosed having tried alcohol, which, when coupled with the 22% of primary and 44% of lower secondary students, paints a sobering picture.
The Perceived Safety of E-cigarettes
The survey further delves into the misconception among young people regarding the safety of e-cigarettes, often viewed as a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking. This misbelief might explain the noted decrease in conventional cigarette use, yet experts are wary of declaring this a victory for public health.
Cannabis Use Among Teenagers
Turning the lens on cannabis, the survey reports that 7% of 15-year-olds have experimented with the substance, with a small yet significant portion admitting to regular use. The gender gap is evident here, with 5% of boys versus a minimal 0.5% of girls reporting usage.
Environmental and Social Factors
Hadjikakou emphasizes the multifaceted reasons behind these concerning statistics. She lists a spectrum of potential factors, including biological, environmental, as well as social and institutional influences. The social environment, encompassing human connections, familial settings, and schooling conditions, emerges as a critical element.
Proactive Measures and Support Programs
In response to these insights, the education ministry and the addictions authority are taking proactive steps. They’re rolling out interventions designed to foster a supportive atmosphere within schools, targeting particularly at-risk groups. Web programs, sports initiatives, and creative projects like “Reading bags for vulnerable families at home” are examples of their preventive approach.
Constantinos Stylianou, director of the addictions authority, highlighted the ongoing evaluation of 12-15 licensed programs aimed at the prevention and treatment of substance use among minors. These programs, evaluated quarterly, are collaborations with various entities, including the education ministry, sports authority KOA, NGOs, and local government, ensuring a broad and united front against this pressing issue.
In the News
Regional and Local Highlights
In other news, the CEO of Energean has assured that regional conflicts have not impacted gas production. Meanwhile, in a diverse range of local updates:
- Plans for the demolition of unsafe refugee housing are set to commence.
- Hellenic Bank is extending free banking and special measures to assist those in vulnerable positions.
- Limassol faced a disconcerting event where a mother and son were attacked.
- Nicosia police have made arrests in connection to a burglary case.
- A man has been detained over drug possession and vehicle theft.
- Paphos was the scene of an armed robbery at a local kiosk.
For those seeking information and services, the Cyprus Mail provides an exhaustive list of community resources, including emergency contacts, utility, transport, and telecom information, holiday schedules, and consumer association details.
Digital Footprint and Privacy
- Around 50% of schoolchildren in Cyprus have tried alcohol at least once, and 7% of 15-year-olds have experimented with cannabis, according to a recent HSBC survey.
- The education ministry in Cyprus is implementing interventions and supportive programs to combat substance use among minors.
- There is a misconception among young people about the safety of e-cigarettes, which may explain the decrease in conventional cigarette use.
- 7% of 15-year-olds in Cyprus have experimented with cannabis, with a gender gap in usage.
- The education ministry and the addictions authority are rolling out proactive measures and support programs to address substance use among minors.