Drugs are faster than the state
Date: 05.06.2011, Newspaper Dnevnik, Journalist Marija TACEV There is no cure for child drug addicts The 14 year old boy from Shuto Orizari, who for at least 2 years has been a heavy heroin addict, died a few days ago in terrible pain and agony. This is the second tragic case. Just a few weeks ago another minor boy who was a long time drug addict died. The information of the activists from the First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi are even more worrisome- bad fate threatens another ten year old girl who has been a heroin addict for the past two years and whose health is worrisome.
The youngest addict is 8 years old
The evidence available to the police shows that 19 minors are registered as drug consumers in Skopje. According to these estimates the real number is surely more than double.
The problem becomes even more alarming because the minors do not have a place where they receive treatment for their addiction.
The Children’s Embassy Megjashi is calling for an urgent change of attitude towards minors as consumers of drugs. According to their findings, the youngest registered adduct is only eight years old.
There is no taboo in the world or in Europe to talk about children who take drugs. There is no greater sin for a society than to be unable to provide children with medical care. In Macedonia there is no health institution to treat children addicted to drugs while children and the number of consumers of narcotic drugs is growing. Children take drugs daily in the streets of downtown Skopje. Children barely ten years old already inhale glue in front of the eyes of other citizens. It is frightening how people can look at these poor children and to do not do anything says “Megjashi”. The organization noted that in recent months many drug addicted children disappeared from the streets, and they fear that maybe the worst has happened to them.
We have heard from child beggars that some of them are placed in one department in the investigative prison in Suto Orizari. If it is so, this is scary, they are children and it is not allowed for them to be held there without professional medical care, says Megjashi.
Practice shows that these minors when they come into a crisis situation only receive initial medical assistance instead of long term treatment. It happens that paediatricians and doctors refuse to care for them because they are not experts on drug treatments. An even bigger problem for doctors is that worldwide no medical protocol exists for the treatment of young addicts.
Doctors are turning away from addicted children
The director of the Clinic of Toxicology, Anton Chibishev, admits that they have a serious problem with children addicted to drugs.
We have a very big problem with that population. The world’s has still not developed protocols for the detoxification of patients who are younger than 14 years. We have large professional troubles when we get patients aged 14-16 years of age. However those that are older than 16 years are treated with dry detoxification and then with the consultation of other doctors we try to help them. But this is very difficult, although sometimes there are results. We can not speak about any active treatment because there is no sufficient number of clinical studies that show that children under 16 years may receive the same treatment that is given to older addicts, says the director Chibishev.
He said that children nearly death due to drug abuse and being younger than 14 years have been brought into the clinic. Their lives were saved thanks to the experiences of the doctors. However the problem is complex and a long path has to be gone to handle these patients.
It is true that colleagues from the children’s clinics are turning away from the acceptance and treatment of addicted children because they say that they do not know how to act, says Chibishev.
The problem is that the Health Fund does not cover the cost for treating child addicts in the Toxicology Clinic. The reason for this is that the children should receive medical care in a children’s clinic considering their age.
Special centres are needed to treat children.
According to Ilco Zahariev, director of the bureau and chairman of the State Commission for combating drugs, says that special medical centres to treat children addicts are needed. He believes that the problem exists, but that the number of children using narcotic drugs is still declining. According to Zahariev, in Macedonia there are eleven methadone centres that are available for all patients, but not for children under the age of 18.
The number of minors who use hard drugs is very small, but still existent. We can not suppose that the number will increase despite the good control mechanisms in place. We introduced a national policy against drug abuse, but at this point we do not have a treatment centres for children. In Skopje this is a large problem because neither the local government nor the citizens authorize the construction of the centres in their municipalities. This is due to the fear for their own children, forgetting that these are their children. Our policy is to open a centre in each municipality to treat addicts. The patient that is not treated is the most dangerous. If the patient receives treatment and is under control then he is not dangerous, Zacharias explains.
Translated by: Sani Stevkovska