AROUND SLOVAKIA

Marijuana use slowing down, but still high

THE USE of marijuana and hashish is starting to level off in Slovakia, according to the annual report on the State of Drug Problems in Slovakia from 2006.

THE USE of marijuana and hashish is starting to level off in Slovakia, according to the annual report on the State of Drug Problems in Slovakia from 2006.

The number of cannabis users is still high, however, and it keeps rising gradually, especially among secondary school students. But the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs has not recorded steep year-on-year increases, like it did in the 1990s.

It is not clear why the growth in cannabis use is slowing down. According to the centre’s coordinator, Lucia Kiššová, it could be that youth are experimenting more and trying other drugs instead, the SITA newswire wrote.

According to the report, students begin to experiment with drugs between 10 and 13 years of age. They most often try sedatives and tranquilisers at first, such as Rohypnol.

Children as young as 14 have already had experience with marijuana and hashish, and the likelihood that they have tried those drugs increases with their age.

The third most frequently tried drug is ecstasy. People rarely develop an addiction to this “club drug” in Slovakia, with most youth taking it on-and-off.

Parents have offered alcohol to 16 percent of seven-year-old children.

Drug use is rare for the under-15 age group in Slovakia. Two percent of minors are treated for drug problems.

The number of cocaine users is rising alarmingly across Europe, but cocaine use has maintained its long-time low level in Slovakia. Slovaks and Czechs traditionally substitute cocaine with Pervitín, which is more accessible. The price of this popular drug has actually fallen.

According to the drug centre’s estimates, Pervitín is used by 13,800 to 34,500 Slovaks. Police said the production of Pervitín is on the rise, especially in eastern Slovakia.

The Slovak drug market for heroin has not been growing, with 7,500 to 19,000 people using heroin and opiates in Slovakia.

The number of heroin and other intravenous drug users in treatment has fallen, but the number of new clients receiving treatment for Pervitín has been rising. However, heroin has a distinct share in drug-related deaths.

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