by Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE Balearics is leading the way in Spain in the fight against drug addiction amongst the young, figures released yesterday revealed.
Bartolomé Jaume, regional anti-drug campaign co-ordinator, confirmed that in 2004 the Islands registered the lowest cocaine consumer percentages for youngsters aged between 14 and 18, which translates as 2.2 percent against the national average of 3.3 percent.

Jaume was speaking at the presentation of the Balearic government's pilot drug prevention scheme, in a marquee set up in the Plaza España to mark International Anti-drug Day. Shelves and trestle tables in the interior of the tent were laden with every conceivable publication to educate young and old alike on the dangers of drug taking. A Planning and Finance director of the region's Health ministry explained that the material was aimed chiefly at teachers and educators of the young as it is during the teen years when girls and boys alike can more easily fall prey to the unscrupulous. Medical evidence now exists to show that cocaine consumption does act destructively on the cortex of the brain.

It is suggested that by increasing the level of information on cocaine and how such risks of taking it are perceived, that a tool will be created to enable the vulnerable to reject its temptations.

According to Health ministry figures for 2004, nine percent of schoolchildren aged between 14 and 18 acknowledged having taken cocaine at some time in their life. When interviewed about the habit, users admitted that there were a variety of factors which encouraged consumption including the ease with which the substance could be obtained and the fact that risks of taking it were played down.

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