• Germany edition
 
Children, 11, taking crystal meth
Photo: DPA

Children, 11, taking crystal meth

Published: 12 Mar 2014 10:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Mar 2014 10:26 GMT+01:00

School pupils, office workers and university students are among a growing number of groups outside the typical drug scene found to be regularly using crystal meth, according to the study commissioned by the health ministry.

It found that the average age of crystal meth users was 20, but around a fifth of those asked were younger than 15 when they first took the drug - the youngest user was aged 11.

The majority of drug takers first used crystal meth between the ages of 16 and 20, the research found.

Sascha Milin, one of the the authors of the 94-page report, said: "Young people in some areas have easy access to the drug. In these regions more education would be sensible."

In the first government commissioned survey of its kind, scientists from the Hamburg Interdisciplinary Centre for Addiction Research asked crystal meth users to list their reasons for taking the drug.

Beyond the "pleasant effects of the substance," half of those asked listed stress caused by their jobs or studies as the reason for using it, Spiegel news magazine said.

One third of participants said "school and studies" were a motive for using it. Stressed parents were also at risk of sliding into drug addiction, the study said.

The highly-addictive synthetic stimulant is known to cause serious, long-term health problems and can have devastating effects on regular users' physical appearance.

The drug, the use of which several studies have indicated is becoming more widespread in Germany, attacks the nervous system.

Long term, it can lead to nerve damage, memory and concentration problems as well as heart problems and psychosis.

"We need more information [on use of the drug]," Marlene Mortler, the government's commissioner for drug related issues told Spiegel.

There is "evidence that the drug has spread from the German-Czech border into other regions, especially larger German cities," she added.

Figures indicate growing numbers of crystal users in Germany in the past few years, with 2,556 new users coming to the attention of authorities in 2012 – a 51 percent increase on the year before according to Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) numbers.

SEE ALSO: Doctors criticized for 'cannabis can kill' study 

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Opinion
Do German unions have too much power?
Lufthansa passengers rush to change their flights at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

Do German unions have too much power?

Germany's pilots and train drivers are taking it in turns to bring the country to a standstill with strikes that have cost the economy tens of millions of euros in the last two weeks. Are unions abusing their power or standing up for their rights? READ  

Older workers can have extra days off, court says
Photo: Workers in a German shoe factory. Photo: DPA

Older workers can have extra days off, court says

Older workers in Germany are allowed more time off than younger ones, a court ruled on Tuesday, saying the difference was not discriminatory. READ  

Expat's family battles for answers four years on
Matthew Fitzpatrick died in 2010 in Mannheim. Photo: Fitzpatrick family

Expat's family battles for answers four years on

In 2010 an Irish computer engineer was found dead in his apartment in Baden-Württemberg. Four years on, his family are still pressing the German justice system for answers. They feel badly let down by police who they say have refused to examine evidence of foul play. READ  

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret
The judges of the Supreme Court announce their decision about weapons exports on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret

The government can keep arms deals secret and only tell the public about them after contracts have been signed, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Just how honest would you have to be to return €7,500 that you found in a box supposed to contain your favourite cheesecake? READ  

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel
Photo: DPA

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel

Around 160 car owners are stuck after a gas station's storage tanks were filled with the wrong fuel, causing an estimated €100,000 in damage. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights

UPDATE: In the second day of their strike, Lufthansa pilots have, as promised, extended their industrial action to include long-haul international flights until the end of Tuesday. READ  

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts
Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. Photo: DPA

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called on Ukraine's allies to help the war-scarred nation pay off its gas debts to Russia, amid concern over gas supplies this winter. READ  

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force
Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks at the World Health Summit in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force

At the World Health Summit in Berlin, the Ebola crisis took centre stage at talks meant to create plans for how to handle future outbreaks. READ  

Nazi-stolen painting put on display, sort of
The Wiesbaden Museum in Hesse. Photo: DPA

Nazi-stolen painting put on display, sort of

The Wiesbaden Museum was once a collection house for art stolen from Jewish owners by the Nazi. With one painting, they hope to right at least one wrong while bringing awareness to its ongoing restitution work. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,471
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd