Real figure of drug users is ten times higher than official one
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17:15, 09 Nov 2018

Drug abuse affects not only the young generation, but also national security. In Moldova, there are about 11,600 officially registered drug users, but the real figure was estimated to be approximately ten times higher. To sensitize public opinion to the dangers of drug addition, especially drugs of the new type, the so-called synthetic drugs, the General Police Inspectorate, in partnership with other involved bodies, launched the campaign  “Choose Life”. The first video made as part of the campaign was presented in a news conference on November 9, IPN reports.

General Police Inspectorate head Alexandru Pînzari said the number of users of drugs of the new type during the past three years has increased from 1% to 13%. Last year the police seized 2 kilograms of such drugs, while this year 5 kg.

Boris Gîlca, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, said about 59% of users take synthetic drugs, while about 35% take injectable drugs. “The new drugs are extremely dangerous. These have unpredictable side effects, affect the central nervous system, generate irreversible consequences for the body and can even lead to death,” he stated.

According to the secretary of state, the approach should be changed: from repressive measures to friendly measures to fight this scourge. A number of youth-friendly centers were opened at the local level where the young people benefit from preventative educational programs, are informed about the dangers of drug addiction. About 300 persons who take drugs annually benefit from psychological rehabilitation services. The national anti-drug strategy generates positive indicators. “The number of drug users has stabilized. We also have a diminution in drug taking by ages. The data show we do not have young people who take drugs before the age of 14. The number of drug addicts aged between 16 and 17 is under 1%.  Most of the drug users are over 30,” said Boris Gîlca.

Ina Tcaci, HIV/AIDS national coordinator at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the new ethnobotanical drugs are synthetic chemical derivatives that mimic the effects of such known drugs as marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Over 800 new substances appeared in 2017 and only 200 of these were discovered.  

“The big challenge of these types of drugs is that the states do not manage to adjust the legal framework and to regulate the status of these drugs. They don’t manage to create laboratories that would test the effects of these substances and to monitor online sales. What we know about these types of drugs is that they have serious consequences for the central nervous system, such as increased aggression and psychoses, which are sometimes irreversible through poisoning and can be even fatal,” stated Ina Tcaci, noting society, the community and families should realize the dangers of drug addiction and should not condemn and judge, but help those who take drugs.

Anatol Munteanu, secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice, said measures to fight drug abuse are taken also in penitentiaries, such as the institution of services for reducing the risks for drug users and provision of psychological and rehabilitation assistance. In 15 penitentiaries, syringes are provided to prevent the spread of diseases, while 13 jails have methadone maintenance treatment services. A therapeutic unit was created at Penitentiary No. 9 where 15 detainees benefit from therapy and counseling. The executional system in Moldova is a pioneer among the states of the region in preventing and fighting drug use in jails.

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