With internet use on the rise, the authors of a new report have cautioned that the development of patterns of addictive use among children and adolescents needs to be closely monitored and investigated.
The latest European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) report has identified a significant rise in online gambling and gaming among 15-16 year olds who were surveyed in 35 European countries, including 24 European Union (EU) Member States.
The authors said measures to prevent teenagers from developing problems associated with gambling, including psychological deficits, are of high priority.
The report found smoking and drinking among 15-16-year-old school students are showing signs of decline; however, 35 per cent of teens reported heavy episodic drinking in the past month.
On average 18 per cent of students reported using an illicit drug at least once in their life, while 4 per cent reported experience with new psychoactive substances.
The authors said substance or internet use among teens should not always be considered individually. “There seems to be a high association between the use of different drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, and risky behaviours such as gambling,” they said.