|•||Why people take drugs, and the nature of dependence|
|•||Factors leading to alcohol and opiate abuse, and gambling disorders|
|•||The types of interventions used to treat each disorder, and their relative effectiveness.|
Many people take drugs, and start taking them at a relatively young age. In the UK, 41 per cent of 16-year-olds report having used cannabis, in comparison with 34 per cent of US, 10 per cent of Italian and 2 per cent of Greek teenagers (Hibell et al. 1997). Similar cross-cultural differences emerge when considering the use of cocaine in various European countries. Haasen et al. (2004), for example, found the percentage of individuals within a general population sample of people aged between 15 and 64 years having used cocaine on at least one occasion varied across countries: UK 5.2 per cent; Spain 4.9 per cent; Germany 2.3 per cent; Italy 1.1 per cent. Use of cocaine was highest among young people, socially marginalized groups such as the homeless and prostitutes, and opiate-dependent people in treatment programmes. Specific subcultures may also be associated with specific drug use. Participants in the rave culture typically report having used over ten drugs, including alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, tobacco, LSD, amphetamine and cocaine (Forsythe 1996). Use of drugs among the wider population is considerably less, although about 25 per cent of the population report having used an illegal drug, most frequently cannabis, at some time in their life. Only 3 per cent of the drug-using population injects.