A study of 1,341 young people in nine cities, one each in Spain, the UK, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia, concluded that young adults in Europe deliberately binge on drink and drugs to improve their sex lives. The UK has one of the worst reputations for binge drinking and underage sex but the study found striking similarities between countries. A third of 16 to 35-year-old men and 23% of women questioned said they drank to increase their chance of sex. Early use of alcohol and other drugs was closely linked to having sex under the age of 16 years, in all countries, especially in girls. Almost half of participants in Vienna, Austria had drunk alcohol and had sex by the time they were 16 compared with 37% in Palma, Mallorca; 36% in Venice, Italy, and 30% in Liverpool. The same was true for those who took drugs under the age of 16 but there were variations in popularity of different drugs among different countries. Spain has the highest consumption of cocaine in the EU. Experts said the findings were worrying because of the health dangers involved in unsafe sex and alcohol and drug abuse.

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