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Addict Behav. 2008 Jan;33(1):122-33. Epub 2007 Sep 8.

High prevalence rates of tobacco, alcohol and drug use in adolescents and young adults in France: results from the GAZEL Youth study.

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MRC Centre for Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, POBOX 080 De Crespigny Park, SE5 8AF, London, United Kingdom.



Rates of substance use among adolescents have increased in the 1990s, however little is known about current patterns of substance use among youths entering adulthood.


We studied sex and age-specific rates of substance use (tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, other illicit drugs, inhalants and psychotropic medications) in a large sample of French youths aged 12-26 years (the GAZEL Youth study, n=1333).


Prevalence rates of substance use were high and varied with age and sex. Tobacco, cannabis and polysubstance use were most frequent among 19-21 year-olds (regular tobacco use: 41.5% in males, 39.9% in females; regular cannabis use: respectively 23.9% and 10.9%; tobacco+alcohol+cannabis: respectively 9.9% and 4.6%). Regular alcohol use was most frequent among 22-26 year-olds (29.8% in males, 15.6% in females). Across successive birth cohorts, the age of initiation of tobacco and cannabis use decreased. Males were consistently more likely to use psychoactive substances than females (except for tobacco and psychotropic medications).


Rates of substance abuse peak in late adolescence but remain high among a subgroup of young adults. Moreover, substance use initiation appears to be occurring at increasingly younger ages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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