- News and Current Affairs
- Features and Reports
- Useful information
- Our Shows
- ON DEMAND
Specialists with the National Anti-drug Agency (NADA) warn that the age at which children start using drugs has dropped to 10-11 years
In January, the agency launched a number of prevention projects, to be implemented across the country.
According to statistics, as regards most of the categories of drugs, Romania is under the European average, but an increase in consumption has been reported in all age brackets. Data provided by the agency show that the most used are inhalants, cannabis and drugs that have psychoactive effects.
Using drugs from a tender age affects the development of the central nervous system, and of the body in general, explained on Radio Romania the physician Bogdan Gheorghe, who talked about the effects of drug abuse, including drugs manufactured in laboratories
Bogdan Gheorghe: "The effects of drug abuse turn the person that takes them into a zombie-like creature. It renders a state of somnolence, with uncontrolled movements, caused by the changes brought to the so-called ethno-botanicals. These are chemical substances produced in labs, controlled, so dealers change their chemical structure in order to create a new substance, that produce the effects of traditional drugs, because that was the starting point; the idea is for them not to be identified as drugs."
Doctor Bogdan explains that cannabis consumption can affect the user's health and psyche as well as their social-integration skills. Drugs can be classified into several categories: drugs that inhibit the activity of the central nervous system, such as heroine, stimulants, like cocaine, and drugs that are disruptive, such as cannabis.
Cannabis, for instance, can cause heart and respiratory diseases and can also affect the nervous system. Also, cannabis alters the ability to drive a vehicle, as it diminishes reflexes and hampers coordination. In order to prevent early use of drugs, the NADA runs in kindergartens and schools information campaigns, in language accessible to children and young adults.
They run programs such as 'My Anti-drug Message', aimed at gymnasium and high school students, 'How to Grow Up Healthy', for kindergarten pupils, and 'The ABC of Emotions', for 1st and 2nd grade pupils, and this is just the beginning. Diana Serban, psychologist with the agency, said, quote: 'Teenagers have access to information, the role of the expert and of the teacher is to be fair play towards their audience, in the sense that they provide correct information about the short, medium, and long term effects, so that the teenager is given the possibility to make an informed decision. We can provide correct information, alongside programs that aim to create healthy lifestyles, and the ability to cope with potential crisis situations that may generate drug consumption.
This is precisely the role of the projects we promote - to develop in every age category coping and protection mechanisms', unquote. We asked Diana Serban which age category is the most at risk.
Diana Serban: From the general population study, meaning 15 to 64, we find that the most at risk bracket is that of 15-24, meaning teenagers and young adults. Also, we have the results of a legacy study in European member and non-member states among the 16 year-old school population which indicates an increase in the prevalence of lifelong drug consumption, which means experimental consumption at this stage. Through the projects that we are already implementing, we aim, among other things, to avoid having experimental use turn to habitual use, abuse, and addiction."
Also this year, the NADA will develop a national project to prevent drug consumption within the home called 'My Child and I', through which it wants to consolidate affective ties within the family, as well as between the latter and school. We asked what advantages may be provided by the family as protection against drugs. In psychologist Diana Serban's opinion, it is first and foremost good communication between parents and grandparents and children, forming a safe attachment with children up to three years of age, providing children with a positive self-image and a value system.
Track Dina Serban: "If the parents are open minded, and don't believe that drug consumption is a topic that is off-limits, just as sex, for example, often is, when this open communication exists, then the child at some point might tell someone that he or she is in an environment where drugs are consumed, this is an element of opening that may help the family accompany the child when he is referred to a specialized program, to a psychologist, or a social assistant. At the same time, it may help normalize the situation within the family through open discussions."
According to Diana Serban, when the parents label the children, this already generates a risk factor that inhibits communication, and interferes with any other normal element in a family.
Copyright © . All rights reserved