Emergency service: overdoses among youth seen more often

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The State Emergency Medical Service (NMPD) increasingly faces cases of unauthorized substances and drug overdose, according to the service's observations, Latvian Television reported March 22.

The head of NMPD Rīga Regional Centre BAC “Imanta”, Sarmīte Leitāne, has been in service for 15 years and does not recall that the number of calls would have been as high as at present in relation to overdoses of banned substances.

In January and February, NMPD recorded 500 calls with a diagnosis of “drug overdose.”

Leitāne said: "And the most tragic – three deaths have occurred in two months. And two of them were young, under the age of 17. It is the most devastating thing that drug use has risen among young people as compared, for example, with 2019, when, as statistics show, there was only one death [of young people] per year." 

The latest drug use report of 2019 shows that, for comparison, in 2017 there were 22 overdose-related deaths in Latvia, whereas back in 2010 – less than ten.

The medic said that the increase in the number of cases suggests that drugs are too readily available to young people and are very widespread.

Drug availability has changed significantly over the years. In the past, one had to know people to buy from, but now it all takes place online. The most common substances are now available through the Telegram communication app groups to anyone who has an interest in them, said Edijs Klaišis, creator of the 'Open' youth centers.

Klaišis said: "Everyone can enter Telegram chat. In less than a minute, you can reach out and negotiate. It used to be a lot more complicated. "

 

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