Dutch Teenagers Get Hooked On Drugs At An Ever Younger Age

On August 1, the Dutch daily ‘Rotterdams Dagblad’ reported that youngsters get hooked on drugs at an ever-younger age. Youngsters are using especially cannabis increasingly in the age groups from 12 to 18 years.
Severely addicted youngsters have to deal with psychiatric problems and are increasingly admitted to special clinics to get rid of their addiction.

This is stated by the Dr. Kuno van Dijk Foundation in Groningen, the Netherlands, which receives young addicts. “We see that youngsters at the highest level of primary school in fact know all the different kinds of drugs”, said spokesman Rob van der Vloed, according to the paper. “That is still something different than use, but it is remarkable that experimenting with drugs starts at an ever younger age. This results in a group of youngsters that become addicted to it and suffers from severe psychiatric problems.”
The foundation in Groningen runs one of the few institutions in the Netherlands where it is possible to treat severely addicted youngsters. From the lst of January 2002 onwards it will be officially recognized as an addiction clinic. “This should be seen as a recognition of the problems that this target group suffers from. The Ministry of Health now indicates that these kind of clinics are necessary and gives us the money to combat the problems.”
Although the use of cannabis produces the biggest problems, the addiction care services also see a shift towards the use of other drugs. “We encounter  more and more so called poly-drug users. These are youngsters that take everything they come across and can pay for.”
The youngsters that are treated, show – apart from severe addiction problems – severe problematic behaviour and have psychiatric complaints. More than 40 percent of them have been diagnosed as having a psychiatric disturbance. Distorted family relations cause problems for a lot of youngsters.
The youngsters that are being admitted into the foundation’s clinic stay for a few months, up to one year. More than 40 percent of the youngsters admitted don’t complete the treatment.

Source: Dutch daily newspaper Rotterdam’s ‘Dagblad’ August 1st 2001

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