Drug consumption among youth

Yesterday I was reading an article about children, age 12-13, using drugs in my country and I was terrified. Being a mother of 2 years old child, an aunt of 11 years old niece is very disappointing, depressing and concerning.

Unfortunately Kosovo was always known for drug dealing and using. It might be to a geographical position or because of under-developed political and economic state. It is located along a major drug-trafficking route in Europe. A lot of mountains (especially around borders) and porous borders continue to make stopping drugs from coming in Kosovo very difficult. Another very bad news is that the price of illegal drugs is very inexpensive and they are decreasing by years: if before 1999 you could buy Herion €50 per gram, nowadays you can find it for half a price 20-25 €/gram.

A survey conducted in 2008 from UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO office in Prishtina, shows that 43.5% of young people in Kosovo have smoked cigarettes and 37.8% of them have ever consumed alcohol. Out of 1302 completed surveys (people age 13-24) 3.8% of them claimed that they have tried cannabis (marijuana, hashish, and weed), whereas 0.4% of them said have tried heroin, 0.6% ecstasy, 0.4% tried amphetamines or stimulants (doping) and 0.2% ever tried cocaine.

Personally I believe this number is much bigger now in 2014 (although I think the number was bigger also back in 2008), and I try so hard to think what does our government do to prevent this increasing number of drug users at least among children under 18 years old. All I remember are some school-based lectures, which teach you about different type of drugs and their risks, and also how we should protect ourselves from different kind of contagious diseases, which can be easily transmitted through usage of the same needle, and similar.

After the end of war in 1999, Kosovo was openly exposed to international community and the family life and social marginalization changed drastically. As Kosovo has become more open to the world so could drug-dealers organized themselves on a global scale

One of the key issues in Kosovo for the youth is high unemployment, which in average represents 40% of the total population, and it is the highest one in Europe. Due to the lack of labor demand, children are investing in education, which by the way is very poor. Education and trainings often are mentioned as social solutions for high rate of unemployment, but economically and socially too this seems to cause more problems that solution, since the existing supply of education and trained persons exceed the demand for them in our country. Educated people- with diploma in their hands, but no jobs available for them is a very important ingredient for depression, and often these depressed people search solution in alcohol and drugs.

There’s no clear strategy how to improve this issue and/or the one that are (such as strategies for economic development) are put only on letter but nothing is done in reality. Lack of rule of law, parents working long-hours fighting for survival, lack of possibilities for entertainment and poor education are all factors that push younger generation towards depression and drug usage. These altogether have made individual citizens more vulnerable to the temptation of money from illegal drug-dealing. Unfortunately this issue is not in our government’s agenda. Some argue that it would be if drug-dealing was legal and government can tax it. I think our government should act as soon as possible on this increasing trend.

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