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Narcotics - an enemy that mustn't become a myth.
with Dr George Vassilev, a psychiatrist, a specialist in treatment and prevention
Do we know enough in the society about narcotics?
More and more each day, but not anough. Because the question is not what people know generally about narcotics and narcotic addicts, but what the role of the family, of every parent is. And things here are very complicated. In my country - Bulgaria life changed very much (after 1989) and responsibilities were given from the country as a whole to the individual, the family. And the parents are not ready for this, because many can't understand that the old relations parent-child-society are not the same any more. Young people understand many things better than their parents and can more easily encounter the new problems like drugs.
Are the special features of the individual the ones, which make the child try narcotics or is it the society?
The reasons definitely cannot be found only in the individual. There are now many more people trying drugs just, because they are curious, because it's "modern". We must examine the problem as a triangle of individual-society-narcotic.
Is there a difference in the narcotics in Bulgaria and in the "West"?
The problem is that young people in the "West" use opiates, which don't cause such a strong dependency. These are the designer drugs - Ecstasy and amphetamines. They use them only in the weekends in order feel much better, when they go out to have fun. And here young people take drugs for relaxation and to forget reality. And they use much more dangerous narcotics.
Is there anything new in the attitude of the population to the prevention?
The idea that the drug abuse is something so unnormal for our society, something that must be isolated has almost disappeared. Today we take narcotics as a part of our world and something that can always be our personal problen, too. Also, narcotic use is a kind of an illness, which can't be removed, if you have once become ill of it- like high blood pressure, etc. Nowadays we don't aim to remove this illness at all, but just to make it less harmful. If, for example, a patient, who takes methadone every morning, has a much better health, if he doesn't commit any crimes, find a job, create a family, isn't this the goal we all try to achieve?
Research in USA shows that $1 invested in prevention reduces the cost for the society by up to $7.
As a physician, which do you think is the most efficient way of foghting with narcotics?
Only one method is not enough for the treatment of a narcotic user. That's why they are combined- medicals, help by psychiatrists, help in getting back in he society.
"Obshtestveno Vazpitanie", 1999