Police traffic control for drugs and alcohol in Majorca. | Alejandro Sepulveda


According to a study by the Fundación Linea Directa, the Balearics have one of the highest levels of cannabis use in the country.

The study, which looked at both general usage and at drug/alcohol use when driving, shows that the three regions with the highest cannabis consumption are Catalonia, La Rioja and the Balearics. Over the past decade, the use of cannabis and cocaine in Spain as a whole has made the country the "European leader" for their consumption. Cannabis use has gone up by 23% and cocaine by 17%.

When it comes to driving, the study reveals that three out of ten drivers who are tested for drugs are positive. Between 2012 and 2015, there was a seven per cent increase in the number of road deaths where drug use was found to have been a factor.

The report backs up data from the national traffic directorate, which indicate that drugs are a greater factor than alcohol. Of all controls, there were 7.5% positive for cannabis, 4.7% for cocaine and just 2.6% for alcohol.

The typical profile of the driver under the influence of drugs is 29 years old, prone to combining drugs and alcohol and typically on the road at night. The managing director of the foundation, Francisco Valencia, considers the findings to be "chilling". Drug use when driving, he believes, is a "real and serious problem" for Spain.

Much needs to be done in educating people as to the risks of driving under the influence of drugs. Nineteen per cent of survey respondents say that they have driven after taking some form of illegal substance. These drivers are typically between 25 and 34 and had previously undergone a test for drug consumption. Attitudes to drugs and alcohol show that that alcohol is considered to be more dangerous than drugs.

The lack of awareness extends to the fact that 2.8 million Spaniards do not think they will be penalised for driving under the influence of drugs unless they have an accident. There is therefore a further lack of awareness of the 1,000 euro fine and six points on the licence (and a custodial sentence if a crime is committed).

"Much remains to be done in terms of awareness as well as in the number of drug controls, as is already the case with alcohol controls," concludes Valencia.