Drug use among young a cause for concern in Liepāja

In 2019 Liepāja Regional Hospital treated 12 children and youths after they suffered ill effects from smoking marihuana, and the number has alarmed medics as it is twice the number treated in 2018, according to Latvian Television's daily news broadcast “Dienas ziņas” on January 8.

“The hospital is full of young people with serious psychological illnesses caused by using marihuana. Even smoking one time can cause psychological illness," said the hospital's Narcology Department Director Narcologist Jeļena Sorokina.

The Piejūras Hospital Psychiatric department sometimes has months when up to 10 drug users from across Kurzeme are resident there. The age of patients is also decreasing, with patients as young as 12 years old being treated at the hospital.

“The symptoms are similar to schizophrenic psychosis symptoms and leave lasting personality defects, similar to schizophrenia patients,” said the hospital's Psychiatric Clinic Director Evija Siliņa.

However, marihuana hasn't been the only problem. Young people have been using so-called “spice” and sniffing lighter fluid, which caused one Liepāja teen to go into clinical death before being revived. “We're currently working on him regaining memory functions so he can be oriented in life. He probably has irreversible toxic brain damage,” said Siliņa.

Apparently the 12 cases were from smoking pure marihuana, but the number of cases where marihuana has been mixed with other products is also on the rise. Last year State Police conducted raids at educational institutions (2 kids were caught) and law enforcement officials have lectured in schools about the potenial harm of drugs. Raids are also planned for this year.

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