Drug abuse can be a harrowing affliction in any country. Users suffer severe physical and mental health disorders, which can have an impact on social and economic situations within the country. This is something that Germany is aware of.
Here there are key measures in place to monitor the use of drugs and provide drug treatment programs. These measures are the responsibility of the Federal Lander and local municipalities. Regular data on trends should provide guidance in the right direction, but this isn’t always guaranteed.
Recent Data Highlights Interesting Trends In Drug Use In Germany
The Epidemiological Survey on Substance Abuse has been studying drug abuse in the German population since the 1980s. The idea is to look at the prevalence and trends of drug addiction in the nation regarding substances used.
These trends can then used to look at potential requirements within drug treatment programs and mental health provisions. The more we know about drug use on a yearly, and monthly basis, the more informed we are on trends.
The most recent data takes us back to 2012, yet it highlights some interesting trends in the use of the illegal drug. Researchers carried out this 2012 study among 9084 participants aged between 18 and 64. It found that the rate of use across the year previous was 4.9%. This was marginally down on the data for 2009, which saw 5.1%. What is interesting here is that the data for use over the previous month remained the same at 2.6%.
One Of The Most Interesting Conclusions In The Period Was The Idea That Cannabis Use Among Youth Group Is Declining
Cannabis remains the most usually used drug in Germany. Figures for 2012 showed last year usage of 4.5% and last month usage of 2.3%. This was significantly higher than other illegal substances. 0.8% reported cocaine use, 0.7% amphetamines and 0.4% ecstasy.
There was also a small amount of use of new psychoactive substances. It would be interesting to compare these figures to 2015 data to see if cannabinoid use continues to fall and the use of psychoactive substances rises. The rise of synthetic drugs like Spice is a more modern phenomenon that may be under-represented by this data. There is also the recent rise of crystal meth in Germany to consider.
The use of cannabis is still largely attributed to the youth market. Data for those aged 18-34 is quite different from that of the national average. Here cannabis use of the year previous was up at 11.1%, and monthly use was 5.3%. This is not a big surprise given the market for this drug.
What did come as a surprise to some was the plateau in the use of this drug. In fact, if we decrease the sample to 18 to 24-year-old participants, we see a decrease. This was later verified through research by the Federal Centre for Health Education, but not by the Alcohol Survey 2012.
The Data Can Help The Government And Health Care Industry With Drug Treatment Programs
Drug treatment programs are an important part of the German health care system for physical and mental health. Treatment comes from the source across the spectrum, with low-level counseling services in the community and more intensive inpatient options.
This includes 300 specialist departments in hospitals, 530 rehab centers, 300 psychiatric clinics, and 1300 psychosocial centers for outpatients. One of the key areas of treatment for the German population is OST – opioid substitution therapy.
As of 2013, there are 2691 known licensed practitioners in this field. OST helps to regulate the prescription of medication and treat users with addiction issues. There were 77,300 known users within OST as of July 2013.
This Is A Good Start In The Fight Against Drug Abuse In Germany, But There Is Always More To Do
There is always the need to develop counseling and treatment options for the benefit of the patient. This means an ability to deal with potential mental health issues that come from drug abuse, as well as the physical.
Drug-induced psychiatric disorders, addiction disorders, depression, and other issues need strong solutions. There is also the need to improve accessibility, as OST service provision is lacking outside of major cities. Drug use is changing in Germany. Cannabis use may be declining, especially in young people, but there are still concerns over other substances. The country cannot neglect its drug treatment policies.