Teenagers in Switzerland are drinking less alcohol and using less tobacco and cannabis than they did four years ago, but hard drugs are increasing, according to a study published on Tuesday.
Higher prices, a ban on sales and a focus on prevention are credited with this "promising" development, the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (ISPA) said.
The study, conducted last year among 7,634 pupils aged from 13 to 16 years, revealed that alcohol remains the "number one problem" for Swiss adolescents, although heavy drinking (classed as five glasses at least three times in the month) among 15-year-old boys had fallen from 20 percent in 2003 to 14 percent in 2007.
With regard to tobacco, 30 percent of 15-year-olds had smoked in the month before the survey, compared with 34 percent in 2003. Cannabis followed the same trend.
However, Switzerland remains the biggest user of cannabis in Europe. And alcohol remains the leading cause of deaths among 15 to 24-year-olds, according to ISPA.
The use of hard drugs increased among 15-year-olds, mainly amphetamines, speed, cocaine, magic mushrooms and LSD. Three percent of those polled had taken these substances at least once.