|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||09/11/95, Volume 1, Number 08|
DRUG abuse among young people in Belgium is on the increase, as youngsters forsake alcohol for over-the-counter medicines and illegal drugs.
To combat the growing problem, the United Nations-affiliated body Life Education International is set to launch its first branch on the European continent.
Recent research shows a much reduced alcohol consumption amongst the young, but a consistent increase in the sale of painkillers, tranquillisers, sleeping pills and 'pep' pills and a worrying rise in the number of arrests for use of illegal drugs.
According to VAD (the Association for Alcohol and other Drug Problems), sales of over-the-counter medicines rose by approximately 41 million individual packets between 1980 and 1992.
The number of drug offences committed by young people is estimated to have risen five-fold in ten years from around 4,000 in 1985.
Offences dealt with by the police increased from about a thousand in 1985 to 11,000 a decade later.
Data gathered by Antwerp University suggests that in Flanders and Brussels alone, public prosecutors reported 2,374 cases of drug abuse between 10 September and 10 December 1994. These included 964 people under the age of 20, a third of whom were previous offenders.
Although cannabis remains by far the most widely-used illegal substance, authorities are growing more and more concerned about abuse involving heroin, ecstasy, amphetamines, cocaine and LSD.
Working in cooperation with the police, the ministries of education and justice and school authorities, Life Education Centre-Belgium is aiming to offer free educational courses to children in elementary schools. This follows considerable success in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the United States.
To give a foretaste of its work, the organisation, which should become fully operational by September next year, ran a week-long mobile class towards the end of October at that most untypical Belgian school, the British School of Brussels, attracting considerable publicity.
According to Guy Huybens, Chairman of Life Education Centre-Belgium: “Our goal is to teach children the importance of human life. How? By teaching them to understand the fascination and uniqueness of the human body. We need to teach children in a very visual way to realise that life can exert a positive influence on themselves and on others.”
|Subject Categories||Health, Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Belgium|