Cigarettes, cannabis and alcohol: in 2020, schoolchildren in Frankfurt took fewer of these three substances than in previous years, as the drug trend study "Monitoring System Drug Trends" (MoSyD) shows.

And this despite the fact that it was the first year with school closures and lockdown due to the corona pandemic.

Perhaps this is exactly what contributed to the fact that young people were more closely monitored at home and therefore had fewer opportunities to consume.

In any case, the Frankfurt health department head Stefan Majer (Die Grünen) called this development a “remarkable antithesis to what we hear from other cities”.

Theresa White

Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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MoSyD is a representative survey by the Center for Drug Research at Goethe University, in which young people between the ages of 15 and 18 have been asked about their use of legal and illegal drugs, but also about media consumption and gambling since 2002.

Majer presented the results to the Health Committee on Thursday and was pleased about them: According to the survey, the proportion of “risky”, i.e. particularly frequent drug users, fell from ten to six percent of those surveyed.

In addition, fewer young people smoke than ever before – only nine percent say they smoke every day.

"Cigarettes are out." Electronic vaporizers also didn't play a major role among young people.

Alcohol most common drug

45 percent of the young people also stated that they had not consumed any drugs in the previous month.

This is by far the highest value since the start of the study.

So there is no consumption in the "quiet room," said Majer.

The most common drug is alcohol.

Two-thirds of the students have tried alcoholic beverages at some point in their lives, but 63 percent are currently abstinent.

Only one percent of adolescents drink excessively.

Cannabis remains the most popular illicit drug among young people.

Almost a third has tried it at least once in their life, and 15 percent smoke weed regularly.

However, compared to previous years, this is a significant decrease that the study authors saw mainly among young men, probably due to a lack of opportunities.

Whether the results of the first year of the pandemic really reflect a trend can only be said in the next few years.

On the one hand, because of the pandemic, only about half as many schoolchildren were surveyed in 2020 as in previous years, and on the other hand, MoSyD shows in other fields that risky consumption is increasing.

The focus there is primarily on drug abuse: eleven percent of young people have already taken drugs to get intoxicated or to increase their performance.

This corresponds to an increase of five percentage points compared to the previous year.

In addition, 22 percent say they suffer from mental health problems.

You have depression, panic attacks or eating disorders.

In 2019 it was only 19 percent.

Used more ecstasy

The evaluation of other substances is not quite as positive, even if the proportion of young people who take these drugs is rather low overall.

But those who used it did it more often: the consumption of ecstasy, for example, increased, although there were fewer opportunities, for example to dance parties, as the study states.

More young people than in the past had already tried speed, and at least one percent of those surveyed had used it in the month immediately prior to the survey.

The same applies to cocaine, which is "increasingly perceived as a particularly high-quality and readily available drug".

Young people are also spending more time gambling or on the internet – with homeschooling also likely playing a role in this increase.