These are the findings of a report published in Brussels by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
“It’s a result of the sweeping changes that have happened in the Czech Republic after the 1989 revolution. Until then, Czechs had relatively little experience with drugs. Mostly young people very quickly got acquainted with the West’s drug addiction,” said the center’s expert, Paul Griffiths.
Domestic experts pin marijuana and ecstasy’s large popularity on something else. Getting hold of both drugs is very easy in the Czech Republic, and also cheap. “Ecstasy’s price has fallen in recent years by two thirds. You can buy a tablet for 100 crowns,” said JiřÃ Presl of the Drop In organization, which focuses on drug issues.
Presl warned mainly about ecstasy, which is used most often by attendees at weekend dance parties. “People underestimate this drug and think they’re not at any risk. That’s a mistake. Long-term use can lead to psychological addiction,” Presl said.
Better-informed young people could bring about a change, according to Presl. An information campaign about ecstasy’s risks – and that of other drugs – is counted on as part of an anti-drug campaign until 2009, but must first be approved by the government in December.
European experts in their report also pointed to positive developments. “The good news is that the number of people who died as a result of overdoses has fallen,” said Georges Estievenart, director of the European drug monitoring center.
Chart: How many people take drugs (aged 15 to 34, in percent)
1. Czech Republic6 %
2. Ireland 5 %
3. Great Britain 4,5 %
1. Czech Republic 22,1 %
2. Great Britain 20 %
3. Spain 17,7 %