The consumption of lorazepam has tripled among young people in the last three decades. According to data presented by the Spanish Ministry of Health, 19.6% of adolescents aged 14 to 18 admit to having taken hypnotic sedatives
Hypnotic sedatives belong to a group of central nervous system depressant psychotropic drugs. Lorazepam (Orfidial) or bromazepam (Lexatin) have anxiolytic effects. Others have hypnotic effects, such as lormetazepam, and some are sedatives, muscle relaxants, or anticonvulsants, like diazepam (Valium). Currently, the consumption of all these types of drugs has surged among the younger population.
This information is reported in ESTUDES, the survey conducted by the Ministry of Health twice a year to assess trends and the situation of drug consumption and other types of addictions among young people aged 14 to 18. After reviewing the results, it is revealed that 2023 was a good year for substances like alcohol, tobacco, and various types of drugs, with lower consumption. However, the use of hypnotic sedatives has increased, reaching its highest point: 19.6% of young people have used them at some point. This corresponds to more than half a million young individuals.
The cause of the use of these types of drugs among young people could be attributed to the deterioration of their mental health. According to a report presented by UNICEF, COVID-19 has been the main contributor to the deterioration of mental health in young people and children. One in seven presents some mental health problem, and in Spain, it’s one in five. However, the trajectory of ESTUDES indicates that the increase in the consumption of hypnotic sedatives is not solely due to COVID-19. In 1994, 6.9% of young people had already used them at some point in their lives. In 2008, it was 17.3%. And although the majority of minors who have consumed them did so with a prescription, 9.7% admit to obtaining them through other means.
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