STAFF REPORTER

BINGE drinking has increased by 15 percent amongst the adult population in Spain over the last month alone, Central Government reported yesterday.
The figures emerged as part of an annual report on Alcohol and Drug Consumption researched by the national ministry for Health and Social Policy. The survey was conducted through interviews with 20'109 people across the country aged between 15 and 64.

Minister Leire Pajín, presenting the report, said however that cocaine consumption is apparently on the wane. Around 1.2 percent of the adult population have consumed the drug over the past year, research confirmed. “For the first time, cocaine consumption has declined to the levels which were registered in 2001,” said Pajín. “This is significantly lower than in 2007 when 1.6 percent of the population had acknowledged taking the drug,” she added. “Although this is good news,” Pajin warned, “there is no time for letting our guard down or feeling satisfied with the result.” After Great Britain, said the Minister, Spain remains the country where the second highest number of people in Europe consume cocaine.

Pajín professed to being concerned by the recent surge in binge drinking and said that alcohol abuse was going to be given close attention in the government's National Plan against Drugs, a move due to be mapped out in the next few months.

The Minister said that she could see from the researchers' findings that the weekends were the times when binge drinking was most likely to occur. She said that although alcohol abuse was more in evidence amongst men, numbers amongst women had grown in recent years.

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