Drug use by Brazilian youths is troublesome, but, compared with other countries, consumption is close to the average. This observation was made, yesterday, by the director of the Brazilian Center for Drug Information (Cebrid), Elisaldo Carlini.
Carlini disclosed that the results of the Cebrid’s Fifth National Survey on narcotics consumption, based on information obtained from public fundamental and secondary school students in the 27 Brazilian capitals, suggest that the greatest cause of concern is the use of alcohol and solvents by young people.
“The first major concern is alcohol consumption. 7% are heavy alcohol users, which means they consume alcohol more than 20 times a month,” he affirms. The study goes on to reveal that 14 is the average age when youngsters have their first contact with drugs.
For the vice-president of the National Students’ Union (UNE), Leandro Cerqueira, the drug problem among youth is related to the lack of prospects.
“I think that the social question is the major culprit. Youth today have no prospects, no opportunity to follow a professional career.”
Cerqueira also argued that, instead of punishment, drugs users need adequate health care.
The Ministry of Education’s secretary of Education, Literacy, and Diversity, Ricardo Henriques, affirmed that schools are an important arena for discussions to prevent drug use among children and adolescents.
According to him, what is being increasingly sought is the participation of teachers, students, and the community in the discussions.
“It is important to train teachers to enable them to deal with the issue without taboos and prejudices and without stigmatizing the youngsters.”
Henriques stressed the importance of allowing young people to speak up and turning them into essential interlocutors in the process.
Maria Lúcia Karam, a retired district judge, called for the decriminalization of drug use. In her view, the criminal provisions that refer to drug possession for personal use are unconstitutional.