During the spring of 2007 and with the assistance of the National Focal Point on Drugs and Drug Addictions, a research team from the Municipal Health Center – city of Shoumen carried out an investigation concerning certain aspects of health behaviour, evaluations and attitudes among this city’s pupils.
An extract of 1807 pupils from the 7th to 13th form was drawn up in 17 schools with 1496 pupils having been inquired.
The more significant conclusions drawn from such study are:
- Most of the pupils in the city of Shoumen live with their parents (this refers to ¾ of them) yet in their greater part they experience loneliness. If they enter into a conflict that would mainly be with their mothers and fathers. More than half of the pupils are not inclined to take a medicine in order to achieve a temporary effect.
- Pupils are satisfied with the progress of their schooling. There is no big difference with respect to the causes for their absence from school – whether this happened owing to a disease, because they play truant or for another reason.
- Their friends would rather disapprove if they find out they take drugs and would make an attempt to stop them from doing so. It is the opinion of 1/3 that no friend of theirs has tried a narcotic yet 1/5 suppose that had happened.
- Narcotics have been offered to 1/3 of the pupils and this shows that there exists a problem in connection with their distribution in the city.
- Parties are not a small prerequisite in the use of narcotic substances although pupils, in their greater part, would not accept to try some kind of narcotic if the proposal comes from a friend.
- Almost 1/3 of the pupils smoke on a daily basis or almost daily, which is close to the picture in other cities. Most often they begin to smoke at the age of 13-15. Pupils who smoke most cigarettes per days are those from the 12 grades. 37% have never smoked thus far.
- Current indulging in drinking of alcohol (during the past 30 days) is characteristic for more than 2/3 of the pupils in Shoumen. Also, the same number of them had got drunk. Something that even happens to teenagers of the seventh grade – 13% of them do it often. Nevertheless, more than half of those inquired are of the opinion that drinking of alcohol poses a great risk to health.
- Pupils give most prominence to beer, to a lesser extent – to hard liquor and vine. It is characteristic for Shoumen that hard liquor is preferred more by women than men. Health problems due to alcohol have had just 1/10 of those interviewed.
- In general, pupils in the city of Shoumen are familiar with the main types of narcotic substances. They know about the effect and consequences of narcotics use mainly from the movies they watch, from stories told by friends and also from teachers and parents.
- To a greatest degree they use marihuana, hashish, ecstasy and amphetamines and they also breathe glues and other inhalants. Methadone and the picot are the least used substances. The level of use in general is below the average for the country.
- The most quoted reasons for a first use by pupils of any of the substances are: for pleasure, out of curiosity and in order to be accepted by the others (the group, the crowd). And this concurs with their opinion about the reason for their coevals start using narcotic substances.
- Pupils are of the opinion that drugs use is in the first place a problem for the country and to a lesser extent a problem of their city or the school thereby attended. According to them the measures that need to be taken in order to resolve this problem most of all are: to impose drastic laws for producers and distributors of narcotics; to create more medical services for treatment, as well as to speak openly about drug addicts’ problems. Also of importance for them is to impose drastic laws for those using narcotics.
- According to the pupils the attitude of parents to drug users is negative to a great extent and this explains the fact that nearly 1/5 of them have never discussed the theme with their mothers and fathers. The pupils themselves too accept the use of narcotics to a little extent. They rather accept the drinking of alcohol than smoking.