The first National Anti-Drug Strategy of Bulgaria
together with a plan for its implementation were presented at an
international conference held on June 12, 2003 at the Bulgarian Academy of Science in Sofia under the auspices of the Prime Minister Mr. Simeon Saxe-Coburg. In his address to the participants (audio tape) the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said that drugs were threatening the society and the only way to win the battle is to enhance the cooperation between the institutions. Conference participants included ministers, police services and financial intelligence directors, customs experts,advisers to the President and the PM, organizations working for drug prevention and drug research, rehabilitation centers etc.
The strategy was elaborated jointly by Bulgarian and
UK experts and covers a five-year period (2003-2008). The strategy
envisages the establishment of a national unit for operational
information on drugs which will collect information from the
responsible institutions and will proceed with concrete measures.
The new unit shall be structured on the example of the UK National Criminal
Dr. Tihomir Bezlov, CSD Senior Research Fellow and
Coordinator of the Evaluation of Drugs Consumption in
Bulgaria project, presented the trends in the drug abuse in the
country based on the results from the first national representative survey on drugs consumption
in Bulgaria. He focused on several points of interest:
- Judging by the data of police and
medical registers in the largest cities, the heroin epidemic
reached its peak in 2000.
- Predominantly Roma regions have proven to be one of
the groups at greatest risk of addiction.
- Given the present quality of heroin dependence can
be questioned. As indicated by chemical analyses the degree of
purity in a dose bought in the street is between 3 and 5 % (or even
less in Roma-populated areas). In comparison, the heroin
concentration in the period 1998-2000 was 8-12%.
- There could be grounds to the concern that
next drug epidemic could be in synthetic drugs.
In the following discussion representatives of
drugs rehabilitation centers opposed the theses arguing that heroin
does create dependence and that there is no doubt that the number
of heroin users has increased.
Drug Use and
Abuse in Bulgaria: Results of the First National Population
Survey, by Tihomir Bezlov
of Drugs Consumption in Bulgaria project
coverage (in Bulgarian only)