Latvia

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LATVIA: Two out of ten ‘legal drug’ users are hospitalized every day

‘The appearance of new psychoactive substances presents a serious problem not just for Latvia but for the whole of Europe, Russia and USA. Lately drug users have switched to using other, unmonitored substances, because there are no restrictions to their use and storage at the moment,’ – says Latvian Medical Association.

Distribution of new and unknown psychoactive drugs deeply affects the work of doctors all over the world, because two out of ten ‘legal drug’ users are hospitalized every day and doctors have to work hard to treat them.

‘These psychoactive substances that can be bought as herbal mixtures have become popular among young people. There are many naturally occurring chemical substances that can affect brain function for a variety of effects: create a sense of happiness, euphoria, etc. There is no way anyone can monitor and control the use of all such substances. Some of these chemicals have different effect on different people – everything depends on dosage and concentration. Similar to medications, such substances can have a healing effect. However, if a large enough dose is administered, the effect on a human brain can be toxic,’ – doctors say.

Disease Prevention and Control Centre representative Inga Šmate presents statistical data compiled by the centre. This data shows that among teenagers in Latvia, 23% of boys and 13% of girls have tried ‘legal drugs’ at some point. A decade ago, tobacco and alcohol use was the most serious problem. Now it is important to educate children about the dangers of using psychoactive substances.

Source: Baltic News Network

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