TAccording to the Federal Drug Commissioner Daniela Ludwig (CSU), abac and alcohol continue to cause by far the greatest damage to health in Germany. Despite successful prevention work among adolescents and young adults, around 127,000 people died as a result of smoking in 2018, said Ludwig on Thursday in Berlin at the presentation of her annual report. That was at least 6000 more than in 2015.
Smoking is the most important avoidable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes. In addition, there is “now several scientific evidence that smokers are at double the risk of a severe Covid-19 course,” said Ludwig. At the same time, she referred to the already decided further restriction of advertising for tobacco products such as cigarettes from the beginning of 2021. According to the report, the World Health Organization also recommends that alcohol consumption be “reduced as far as possible” during the pandemic.
The increasing numbers of cannabis users and treatments also caused major problems, said Ludwig. Never before have so many illegal drugs been on the road in Germany as there are currently. “Cocaine is the mega-topic” and has meanwhile “arrived in the middle of society”. However, gambling and “games with addictive potential” also posed dangers.
The CSU politician also warned of the dangers of the corona pandemic for addicts. It is currently fundamentally important that advice centers, low-threshold help offers and addiction clinics remain open to everyone in need. The need is greater than ever. The supply of substitutes for opiate addicts is currently secured. The focus is currently on the expansion of life-saving measures such as substitution or the nationwide distribution of the nasal spray naloxone against respiratory arrest in the event of overdoses. This is to prevent deaths from the use of illegal drugs.
Children of addicts also need more help than before: “Many of them are almost on their own,” said Ludwig. “We mustn’t forget anyone.”
700,000 young people are media dependent
The report also focuses on the increasing number of media-dependent children and adolescents. During the first lockdown in spring, adolescents would have accessed digital games and social networks around 70 percent more often. “This increases the risk of addiction in this area too,” said Ludwig. According to the report, around three percent of all children and adolescents and thus almost 700,000 young people were addicted to “gaming or social media” in autumn 2019.
As a result, there is also a greater need for information on screen media usage, according to a representative survey from July this year. According to this, almost two thirds (64 percent) of the adults said that more media skills should be taught in schools. Ludwig also referred to her campaign “Family.Freunde.Follower”. It offers low-threshold assistance “for a healthy everyday life with screen media in families”.