This report presents the results of the sixth data-collection wave of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). The report marks the 20th anniversary of ESPAD data collection (1995-2015), which increases considerably the value of the information presented, allowing the identification of long-term trends with a standardised and comparable methodology.

This report is based on the information provided by 96 046 students from 35 European countries, 24 of them being Member States of the European Union. About 600 000 students have participated in the successive ESPAD data-collection waves, making the project the most extensive, harmonised data collection on substance use in Europe.

The immediate objective of ESPAD is to collect comparable and reliable information in as many European countries as possible, but the final purpose is to provide a solid basis to help formulate policies, in particular those aimed at young people.

The first ESPAD report, based on 1995 data, included information from 26 countries. The number of participating countries increased notably in the following waves of data collection. In the last two waves (2011 and 2015), the number of countries has stabilised at 35-36. A total of 46 countries have participated in at least one of the project’s data-collection rounds.

ESPAD has a long history and a promising future. The project was initiated by the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN) following initial work carried out by the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe. For 20 years CAN coordinated ESPAD with the support of the Swedish government. In recent years the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has progressively increased its support to the network, and since 2013 it has been involved in the coordination of ESPAD. These developments have taken place at the instigation of the Swedish government and the EMCDDA Management Board, and in agreement with the ESPAD network. The EMCDDA is pleased now to have assumed responsibility for ensuring the production of this report and its accompanying website.

The results presented here are based on the substantial contribution of leading national experts, their collaborators and the institutions that supported and funded the data collection. The report would not have been possible without the contribution of many schools, teachers, research assistants and, notably, students who volunteered to give their time and information to the ESPAD project so that we can obtain a better understanding of European students’ substance use and their attitudes towards it.


Alexis Goosdeel - EMCDDA Director

Ludwig Kraus, Håkan Leifman and Julian Vicente - ESPAD Coordination Committee