World Bulletin / News Desk
The highest number of court cases in which minors are tried as suspects are related to illegal narcotics use, according to figures provided by the Bakırköy Juvenile Court.
The court heard 700 trials last week, 250 of which were drug related.
Based on court records, officials say heroin abuse is now rampant among high school students, with some starting to use dangerous narcotics as young as 14. Officials say the average age for drug use in general is falling. The second most frequent offense minors are tried for at the Bakırköy Juvenile Court is theft, followed by assault.
The order of the most frequent juvenile offenses does not change for young adults over 18, either.
More than 30,000 young people over the age of 18 have been tried for possession or illegal drug use over the past year. In the Bakırköy Criminal Court of Peace 2,000 people were tried in about 1,150 narcotics related trials just in this past week. The average age of the suspects in these trials was 20. According to police records, 20,368 people in this age group were taken into custody over drug use charges, while that figure rose to 25, 896 in 2009. In the same year, 4,140 people aged 18 to 25 were detained over heroin abuse, up from 3,016 the previous year.
A study conducted jointly by the İstanbul Provincial Education Directorate and the İstanbul Police Narcotics Department also revealed some alarming numbers.
According to the findings in this recent study of 31,272 students at 154 schools across 28 İstanbul districts, the average age when children first start using drugs in Turkish schools is 14. The study identified that the drugs used by high school students included cocaine, which is known as the “high-society drug” due to his higher price tag.
The study also found that most adolescents who smoke cigarettes start around the age of 13.5 years, and most of them become long-term users.
Psychiatrist Nevzat Tarhan said weakened family values and peers that are a bad influence are the main reasons behind the increase in illegal narcotics use among teenagers.
He said that most dealers offered drugs to adolscents for free in the beginning with the intention of getting them addicted. “Parents should get to know their children's friends better. They should invite them over if that's necessary,” Tarhan advised.
He also said new rehabilitation centers are needed, adding that civil society organizations and public opinion leaders had an important responsibility in combating drug-use among youth. “Children who start using drugs cannot get out of that mire as easily as they got in. They need somebody to take them by the hand and pull them out.”
He said adolescents who use drugs tend to become visibly aloof, avoid spending time with family, sleep longer hours, might look paler, experience a loss of appetite, start getting lower grades at school and become less social and have increasingly fewer friends. “They always hang out with the same people,” he said.
He said parents who find out their children are using drugs should not overreact and should avoid becoming aggressive.
“There should be acceptance of the situation while making it very clear that although he or she is your child, you do not approve of this behavior.” Parents in this situation should immediately seek professional help, Tarhan also noted.
Illegal narcotics most common offense in Turkish juvenile trials
Based on court records, officials say heroin abuse is now rampant among high school students, with some starting to use dangerous narcotics as young as 14.
World Bulletin / News Desk