Teenage Issues

Information on some of the issues which affect young people including teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug use: where to find help and advice and the laws surrounding them in Spain...

INJUVE publishes health guides on matters relevant to young people, including information on anorexia and bulimia and mental health.

  • Information also from ERYICA (European Youth Information and Counselling Agency)

Teenagers and alcohol

Spain has similar youth alcohol issues to many other European countries including France and the UK. Government studies in previous years show that a high percentage of 14 to 18 year olds in Spain drink regularly.

  • The Ministry of Health is responsible for monitoring alcohol related issues and publishes information on its website to discourage young people from drinking: Alcohol and Youth (in Spanish)

The minimum drinking age is 18. Drinking in public areas is illegal and the police may fine those who break this law.

Alcoholics Anonymous (Alcoholicos Anonimos) is active in Spain and there is an English-language version of its website. There are also English language meetings in many areas.

Teenagers and drugs

Figures from ESPAD (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs) survey released in 2009 show that although drug use is wide spread among young people in Spain, the numbers of young people smoking and taking illicit drugs has fallen according to 2014 figures.

Drug use and possession for personal use of some drugs does not constitute a criminal offence under Spanish law. However, public consumption and possession is penalised with fines ranging from €300-€30,000. One clear difference is Spain's marijuana policy - it encourages marijuana smokers to grow their own product. Personal consumption and home cultivation have been decriminalised, but buying or selling marijuana/hashish remains a criminal offence. Drug prevention is a priority and community-based programmes organised by health centres are increasingly available in schools.

Prevención Familiar, is a family-based prevention initiative set up to provide support and materials for professionals and families.  

·         For information visit the Prevención Familiar website

Teenage pregnancy

Spain has traditionally had low rates of teenage pregnancy compared to other European countries. The family planning association, FPFE (Federacion de Planificcacion Familiar de Espana) has a website section aimed at young people with information on regional centres.

Contraception is rarely free in Spain. The morning after pill (la pildora del dia despues) is widely used and is sold on prescription at pharmacies. Clinical abortion is legal and in some instances a proportion of the cost is covered by social security.

Teenagers and smoking

In Spain, the age at which tobacco can legally be bought and smoked is 18.