DRUGS

Sedative use overtakes cannabis consumption

Spain still leading European user of cocaine, although overall figure is falling

The use of sedatives -- sleeping pills, tranquilizers and so on -- has doubled in Spain in the last six years. The proportion of people who took such drugs in the 12 months prior to the survey rose from five percent in 2005 to 11.4 percent in 2011, according to the latest drug use survey from the Health Ministry, known as EDADES.

In fact, sedatives, together with alcohol and tobacco, have become the three most widely used drugs in Spain, overtaking cannabis.

According to the poll, while drug use went down in all other categories - alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, cocaine and others - the use of sedatives continued to rise, in particular in the 35-and-above age bracket.

This is also the only category where there are more female than male users: 15.3 percent of women used sedatives in the last 12 months, compared with 7.6 percent of men.

Alcohol and tobacco

However, the most widely used drug in Spain last year continued to be alcohol, with 76.6 percent of citizens reporting having consumed it. This is followed by tobacco, which came in at 40.2 percent. That represents a two-percent drop since the previous survey was carried out.

Figures also show that cocaine consumption has gone down from three percent in 2005 to 2.2 percent in 2011. Even so, Spain continues to head the European Union for use of that drug.

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