EDITORIAL

The Drug of Unconsciousness

Drug consumption in Romania, especially by young generations, is so intense that institutions responsible with ascertaining it no longer have the courage to emphasise it in all its gravity, for the very least. Thus, they created the frequent practice of issuing official data on drug consumptions during times heavily dominated either by parliamentary or presidential elections, or by ample contestations against political leaders, or by the introduction or the cut of burdening taxes, etc. All of these are events that gain the long-term attention of the public opinion, so that the massive drug use appears as a secondary issue.

In the meantime, new tragedies appear again and again, based on drug use. Recently, a young man aged merely 21, under the influence of drugs, lost control over his own actions and got infected with HIV. And, also under the influence of drugs, he engaged in multiple sexual affairs and transmitted the disease to many of his female partners. Another young man, a high school student, was so severely beaten by classmates under the influence of drugs, that he fainted on the street. The ambulance arrived at the scene of the conflict merely to establish that the injured guy was, actually, dead.

Death was also the fate of an HIV-positive young man suffering of syphilis, whose corpse was found in a drain. Syphilis is actually a common disease with drug users. And, also under the influence of drugs, several students aged 14 – 15 drop out of school, leave their families, start stealing or committing other crimes, until they are carried to official juvenile correction centres, where their behaviour becomes increasingly aggressive.

Official reactions are either absent, or simplistic. In the case of many felonies committed by drug users, police only interferes if somebody files a complaint. Otherwise, police ignores these crimes. This attitude is stimulated inclusively by the fact that, usually, official measures against drug abuse merely target the limiting of antisocial behaviour by drug users, instead of focusing, as they should, on the prevention of drug addictions. Is this restricting action an expression of interest from behalf of responsible sides? Nu, it actually shows the failure of these institutions in dealing with the issue. Therefore, it shows that today’s drug abuse beats the present laws defending us. By example, the new Criminal Code reduced the penalty for burglary much under its previous limit. And, thus, we may notice a massive increase in the number of burglaries, especially due to drug consumption.

We may discover once more that it is precisely the present legislation that generates this situation and that actually, laws are incapable of restricting drug use in Romania. The confusion or the perfidy of governors of all parties is that they are inclined to to consider drug use as a “fundamental human right”. This attitude is partly a result of the pressure from behalf of our allies in the EU, who, according to Romanian politicians, frequently point out that fundamental human rights are not always respected in Romania. It was precisely how some drug users got to boast with this “European quality”. We may remember how a big network of manele singers and underworld figures was identified as a chain of drug consumers and traffickers, due to the public assumption of this “profession”.

As drug users in Romania have started to brag publicly about this “quality”, the elaboration of new antidrug strategies is frequently announced. The preceding campaigns dedicated to this issue failed to reach expected awards. As, gradually, once drug consumption grows, it is increasingly well covered. Drug trafficking reached massive proportions also due to the refinement of the masks it hides underneath. Therefore, a primary objective of any antidrug strategy would be exactly to discover all trafficking methods or networks. Most of them come from Asia and are directed to Europe; their variation and complexity is well-known. Unfortunately, Romania is a gate to Europe, a transit region; but, many of the drugs heading towards Europe end up being consumed here. This is the source of our greatest tragedies.

The age of drug users decreased to 10 – 11 years, the HIV infection is spreading all over, and the medical treatment of this terrible issue costs an annual EUR 10,000 for each patient. The National Antidrug Agency made appreciable efforts in order to, at least, keep the situation under control; but the results are insignificant. The complicated situation derives from the fact that, ever since the appearance of the so-called legal highs, drugs are increasing in variety and, therefore, are increasingly difficult to control. Dozens and dozens of new legal narcotics appeared on the market lately and this endless diversity beats any defence strategy elaborated in the meantime.

The prohibition of selling drugs fails to reach any effects, considering that the various types of legal highs look differently and many websites on the Internet praise the euphoria offered by the legal highs, while the information about the diseases they cause is withheld. Thus, the transit of legal highs is amplified until several networks of traffickers are created, who frequently join forces and act complementarily.

Defence measures, adopted in the meantime with massive political propaganda, are, unfortunately, differently interpreted and applied from one case to another, even if they are identical. Let us remember the measures for the protection of minors, under the slogan “the protection of minors is above all!”

The campaign raised awareness on parental violence, but, unfortunately, it omitted to refer to drug dealers’ violence. Police sometimes refused to adopt any measures against small drug dealers, explaining that their attention focuses on border regions, where massive amounts of drugs still continue entering the country. But, at the borders, various unpredictable cases still appear. At the request of the EU, Romania outstandingly strengthened its Eastern borders, to stop drugs brought from the Orient. Then, the unpredictable happened: drugs started entering Romania through the Western border. Now, they come precisely from Western Europe, presently holding some of the highest rates in the trade of legal highs.

In theory, “spice shops” disappeared; yet hepatitis, HIV infection and AIDS still continue to ravage the population. The lead cause was, for a very long time, the fact that heroin addicts used the same infected syringes to inject drugs. Well-intended organizations tried to improve things by distributing sterile syringes for free. Unfortunately, this well intended initiative was interpreted by addicts as a gesture that recommended “sanitary” drug use. Therefore, the attention of drug users was focused on how to inject drugs and not on avoiding them completely. As, the focus should not be on protecting addicts, but on helping them overcome their addiction and providing them rehab until they are completely integrated socially.

Many similar unpredictable cases, sometimes favoured by inaccuracies in the laws, prove nowadays all over the world that the best way to fight drugs is by preventing, not merely by promoting rehabilitation.

 

 

 

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