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Young People and Drugs 2009

Young People and Drugs 2009

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Published by AB-
Young people’s drug use is an emotive issue. As adults, our initial impulse can be to deny the choices that young people make, so that we don’t have to deal with the underlying reasons. This response is all the more tempting because contemporary young people inhabit such a different cultural, social, and economic environment than the one we, the generation making many decisions that shape their lives, are familiar with.

We also feel a strong impulse to control their behavior. We are responsible for our children and we have the wisdom that comes with age. Surely we should compel them to do what is right and punish them when they don’t?
Young people’s drug use is an emotive issue. As adults, our initial impulse can be to deny the choices that young people make, so that we don’t have to deal with the underlying reasons. This response is all the more tempting because contemporary young people inhabit such a different cultural, social, and economic environment than the one we, the generation making many decisions that shape their lives, are familiar with.

We also feel a strong impulse to control their behavior. We are responsible for our children and we have the wisdom that comes with age. Surely we should compel them to do what is right and punish them when they don’t?

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Published by: AB- on Mar 29, 2010
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01/22/2013

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Troughout the region, the availability of drug treatment and other harm reduction services
to young people varies considerably. Access is better in the Czech Republic (where governmental
funding has expanded services), Slovenia, and to a lesser extent Estonia, while in Serbia, Roma-
nia
, and Russia, access remains poor. Limited geographical availability of services is one of the
key problems. Law enforcement and confdentiality fears have also resulted in the widespread be-
lief among IDUs that most services cannot operate without police “permission.” Whether or not
such fears are justifed in a particular situation, any harm reduction programs that target IDUs or
other vulnerable populations (such as sex workers or young homosexuals) must overcome simi-

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access to drug treatment and other harm reduction services

lar problems in achieving “street cred.” Furthermore, these programs need to confront stigma and
discrimination, which, as the country respondents from Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine report,
can also drastically reduce uptake of services.
Te barriers to OST are especially pronounced. It remains illegal in Russia and is only slowly
expanding in Ukraine, the two countries with the largest IDU populations and HIV epidemics
in the entire European Region.

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