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Drugs Abuse in Romania

I choose to write about this subject because I think that drugs abuse is a problem, which weighs heavily on any country, no matter what other specific problems these countries may have.

Dependence, Adiction and Abuse

While drugs can be and frequently are used casually and infrequently, some people seem to use them to excess. This manifest itself in several ways. For instance, lifestyle can be oriented around obtaining and taking the drug. If the particular drug is affordable, easily consumed, and does not produced obvious intoxicating effects, then drug use may not interference with other aspects of their lives to any great extent. Two examples of drug such as these are caffeine (from tea and coffee) and nicotine (from cigarettes). Both can be used excessively with relatively little immediate impact on the users life. Alcohol is a slightly different case. It is somewhat less affordable, and less readily available (because of the restriction on sale), but is easily consumed. And it does produce an obvious intoxicating effect. A person who uses alcohol excessively cannot carry on their life as if they never used the drugthere are likely to be frequent periods of intoxication than can interfere with other activities. The excessive alcohol user has to dedicate more time and effort to drinking and experiencing drinking consequences than the smoker does or coffee drinker does with regard to his or her drug use. At the other end of the spectrum is a number o illegal drugs. Because they are illegal they are almost always expensive, somewhat more difficult to obtain, and not always in an easily consumable form. Illegal drugs may vary as to degree of intoxicating effects they produce. In the doses usually taken, few would have the profound effects of a large dose of alcohol. For example, marijuana intoxication may result in some excitation, talkativeness, followed by a period of sedation, but normal activities are not otherwise impaired. Similarly, on opiate may render the user apparently sleepy, but there is no gross disruption to behavior. Even if they do not produce such intoxication, illegal drug use may dominate a persons life. Very often this is simply because of the difficulty inherent in obtaining the money to buy drugs. If a persons life seems to be oriented around taking drugs, they are often said to be dependent on the drug. Thus, a person who drinks fifteen cups of coffee a day has to arrange his or her life to ensure that coffee is available throughout the day. The forty-a-day smoker has to have cigarettes available almost all the time and spend several hours a day smoking. The heroin user has to get sufficient money and then obtain enough fixes to last through the day, as well as go through the ritual of preparation and administration. In this particular case, there may be time for anything else. When such dependence occurs, people often look for causes. Two main types of causes are often proposed: physical and psychological. Physical dependence is said to occur when the body seems to need the constant suffers withdrawal. Because the symptoms of withdrawal are unpleasant, drug use may continue in order to alleviate them. 1

Psychological dependence is a little harder to define, but occurs when an individual finds a drug so attractive that he or she seems unable stop using it. It may that if the individual finds his or her life to be somewhat bland, those periods under the influence of the drug shine out. Unfortunately, psychological dependence is not so clearly marked by withdrawal symptoms when the drug use discontinues. Nevertheless, the phenomen is real enough. The term addiction is also used when referring to repeated drug use; persons can be addicted to drugs and too, drugs can be highly addictive. For the person, the words addicted and dependent will be used in the text synonymously. Labeling drugs as addictive is another mater. A drug may be more or less likely to induce physical dependence in the longterm user. Finally, a term frequently used is drug abuse. The difference between use and abuse of a drug is that the latter term implies deleterious effects on the persons own life or on the lives of others around themeffects which are results of drug use. If a person is using a drug repeatedly, it does not appear to harm either him/her or others who come in contact with that person, then he or she cannot be said to abuse the drug. The differentiation between use and abuse has important implications. Unless one has moral or religious objections, drug use per se does not seem to be a bad thing. After all, everyone seems to do it in one form or another. But if a person is in some way damaging himself or others, the drug use becomes a problem the problem, of course, is deciding at what stage the behavior can be labeled abusive. Virtually any drug has deleterious physical effects, but it is not always clear that amount is needed to produce them. For example, continual use of cocaine by inhalation through the nose (or snorting) can damage the tissues of the nasal passages. One result may be a diminished sense of smell. But how much cocaine is needed to produce such damage? Does a small amount result in no damage, in some damage? Such questions are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. When one comes to deleterious effects, which are not so readily specified the problem, is even more difficult. Some would say that simply coming to rely on a drug, for instance using alcohol to relax, is bad in and of itself. Others might want stronger evidence of substantive effects on the individual (such as diminished work output) or those around them (such as stress from having to continually care and cover for an intoxicated individual) before using the term abuse. Thus, while the concept is a useful one, the line between drug use and drug abuse is often difficult to draw.

Drugs use in Romania

Since the middle of 1990s, efforts have been made towards diminishing this scourge of drugs, but in a rather disorganized manner, focusing mainly on combating drug trafficking and less on the welfare of addicts, which would mean providing treatment, aftercare and social rehabilitation services.  Drug strategy A national Anti-drug Strategy was elaborated in October 2002 and adopted in 2003 through a Governmental Decision. In December 2002 a National Anti-Drug Agency was set up by a Governmental Decision in order to implement a Romanian anti-drug strategy. 2

As an outcome of the Phare twinning project involving the two European Union countries of Spain and the UK, the National Anti-Drug Agency was created in December 2002 by the Romanian Government. The national anti-drug strategy was put into force by another Governmental Decision, as the basis for the new trends of the Romanian drug policy. The adoption of these two important documents in only two months is proof of the fact that the fight against drugs has become one of the highest priorities of its policy. This policy has important objectives concerning Romanias integration into the European Union (EU) and the developed world.  Drug use No general population drug survey has been carried out in Romania.  Drug use among young people A national school survey carried out in 1999 among secondary school students age 15 years old indicated that 9.5% had used an illegal drug at least once in their life. (ESPAD, 1999).  Prevention In recent years, two important programs targeting the drug prevention among students were implemented. The Barbacana Project, which includes guidelines for teachers, videotapes and booklets for pupils, were printed and distributed in the schools of Bucharest and of other five main Romanian counties. The Education for Health in the Romanian School included prevention of drug consumption and addiction as one of the seven themes approached by this program  Treatment demand and problem drug use According to data provided by the former Ministry of Health and Family, 93% of all drug users requesting medical services in 2001 were heroin users. The majority of drug users were registered in Bucharest.  Treatment responses In Romania, psychiatry hospitals that include special detoxification units for drug addicts, especially for heroin addicts. Detoxification treatment can also be done in psychiatry units of hospitals. Overdose-drugs cases are treated in the intensive care units of the county-hospitals.  Health consequences In Romania the number of IDUs infected with HIV is very small. Among all drug users requesting medical services in Bucharest in 2001 there was only one HIV positive case identified. The prevalence rates for HVC and HVB are unknown. In the drug treatment centers in Bucharest the estimates for HVB are around 25-40% and the estimates for HVC are approximately 60% according to data from the Public Health Departments within the Ministry of Health. In the year 2000 a law against the illicit trafficking and abuse of drugs was issued in accordance with the EU legislation in this field. This law is going to be up-dated within following pillars: drugs use prevention, fight against trafficking, treatment and social rehabilitation.

Nevertheless, according to the legislation in force a drug user is not considered as a criminal. For each case the situation is different. The consumer is treated as a patient, needing medical care, if it can be proved that he or she has not be involved in drug distribution. The Romanian authorities hope to set up a complete therapeutic chain, taking into consideration the establishment of therapeutic communities, following the principles of similar centers in more developed countries. We also take into consideration the development of more detoxification centers and methadone maintenance facilities. Special attention is given to Primary Prevention, through extra-curricula activities for teenagers, such as organizing concerts, round tables, thematic exhibitions of painting and graphic arts as well activities in hot places like clubs and discos. In attempting to have a complete response to those who need help, the National Anti-drug Agency approaches all these policies multi-dimensionally, involving civil society, especially associations of former drug uses. In the new draft of the law against the drug phenomenon, the legislator is very concerned about harm reduction issues, being convinced that in Romania the idea that needle-exchange encourages drug use is already outdated. Conclusion

Within most contemporary societies a great variety of drugs are available. There are always socially acceptable drugs, on which few restrictions are placed. In the West these include caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Other drugs are intended to be used for medical purpose and regulations and delivery systems have been developed to try ensuring use is restricted to these purpose only. Some drugs are totally proscribed by low, however, and in most modern societies heroin and cocaine fall into this category. Drugs in the first group are unique because we are socializing to use them. Children observe their parents and other adults using these drugs, and as a consequence, are likely to follow in their footsteps. This may result in moderate use of drug, which allows the person to experience its beneficial effects without the deleterious consequences, which can result from, over-use. On the other hand, there will always be a certain proportion of people who use these drugs excessively, ultimately causing problems for themselves and others around them. Social judgments regarding drug acceptability change with time. Acceptable or common patters of drug use of any given era may be completely altered fifty or one hundred years later. So, what is now penalized heavily by law may become the standard intoxicant in the future. Change happens to be occurring now in the case of tobacco. Smoking has been considered acceptable in many societies, but as evidence of its danger to health accumulates, it is becoming less and less so. Although it is still legal, acceptance of the practice is declining.

In the end I what to underline the fact that in order to diminish this worldwide phenomenon, is absolutely necessary, to based on the principle that if you help someone in fight against drugs in fact you are helping yourself.


 On Drugs by David Lenson  Illegal Drugs by Paul M. Gahlinger  Drugs and Addictive Behaviour: Treatment by Hamid Ghodse A Guide to

 The Pathology of Drug Abuse by Steven B. Karch

The Street Addict Role: A Theory of Heroin Addiction by Richiard C. Stephens