The age of onset and quitting of drug use is rising
In the survey, we explore whether the average age of onset of illicit drug use among the Slovenian adults changes and whether the age at which individuals quit using illicit drugs changes.
Data was obtained within the National Survey on the Use of Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drugs 2018. This is a cross- sectional survey on a probability sample conducted among 9161 individuals aged between 15 and 64 years living in private households and residing in the Slovenian territory.
In 2018, the average age at first use of cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamine increased compared to 2012, namely by 1 year for ecstasy and amphetamine and by 1.3 years for cannabis and cocaine. The noticeable decline in the use of illicit drugs in 2012 was observed in the period after the age of 35, and in 2018 it shifted to the period after the age of 45 (statistically significant differences). Data for ten-year age groups show that the percentage of lifetime drug use increased significantly between 2012 and 2018 in almost all age groups, with the largest increase in the 35-44 age group. In this group, the percentage of lifetime cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamine use and the percentage of last year cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine use increased.
The data of our survey show that between 2012 and 2018, the average age at the first use and the age at the end of use increased among Slovenian adults. This indicates the need for further research of causes of delays in use in later years and the implementation of prevention programs among young adults and middle-aged people.