Trends And Attitudes On Drug Issues ...

06.03.2006, 12:52

Trends And Attitudes On Drug Issues In High School Teenagers

Articol din publicatia Timisoara Medical Journal nr. 3/2005
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Mihai Gafencu1, Bogdana Zoica1, Gabriela Doros1, Sorin Ursoniu2, Bogdan Korbuly3, Kalliope Silberberg3, Margit Serban1
1 3rd Pediatrics Clinic,
2 Management and Public Health Department, Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara,
3 Department of Public Health of the Timis County- Promotion and Health Education Office

Objective: Drawing attention to a new social phenomenon of increasing illicit drug use among teenagers and consequences of inefficient prevention programs, as well as lack of specialised personnel for this important public health issue. Material and methods: Several major studies were undertaken in our country during 1997-april 2005: 1999 and 2003 ESPAD (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs), 2001 and 2004 Save the Children Organization studies, performed in Bucharest; 2002 and 2004 RHRN (Romanian Harm Reduction Network) qualitative and quantitative studies, 2003-2004 and 2004 - 2005 National Antidrug Agency evaluations and projects. This paper reports the data gathered in the recent CAST 3 study performed in high schools from Timis County (2003-2004) and analyses it in the setting of the obtained results from the above mentioned studies. The target population is a representative, homogenous cohort of 1056 high school teenagers, 14-19 years old. The study is based on anonymous questionnaires.

Results: Our data shows that increasing numbers of teenagers have already used drugs or will do so at the first opportunity. Cannabis is the most preferred drug by high school teenagers in Timis. The proportion of high school teenagers who have used cannabis in Timis County is 4%, less than reported figures for Europe (21%), but higher than the reported values for Romania (3%). The prevalence of use of any illicit drugs, in 2003 was 6.5% (5.4% in 2001), while the nation-wide figures raise to 4.5%. In most cases they are experimental (62% in 2003 and 70% in 2001) and occasional users (19%). The proportion of systematic users rose from 11% in 2001 up to 19% in 2003.

Conclusions: Romania is on the Balkan route for illicit drug traffic, Timis County being one of the counties with the highest reported figures for drug consumption, after Bucharest and Constanta. Lack of funding is reflected into lack of professional diagnostic and therapeutic networks, as well as specialized personnel for assistance and social reinsertion. Adolescents and other young adults who use drugs often take risks that endanger their health and the health of others. Anti-drug regional campaigns should be especially oriented towards prevention and influencing social approaches to consumers, thus contributing to their social reintegration.

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