What measures should schools take?

Frequently, even teachers don’t know how to deal with pupils who are drug-dependent. «Many teachers are afraid of facing such a delicate issue and are worried about exposing the school, so they prefer not to get involved,» says Dimitra Androulaki, deputy director of Plefsi. «As some teachers tell us, they want to help, but they don’t know how. It is very important for teachers to get some training on this subject, because at school, as in the army or any other place where there are lots of young people, there is drug use.» In contrast, Yiannis Rachovitsas, deputy director of the drug squad, praised the cooperation of school directors with the police. «Especially this year, we have done very good work. Whenever there’s a problem, for example, when outsiders are hanging around outside a school, they inform us at once.» He believes that police raids on high-risk areas have paid off, helping reduce the incidence of drug dealing at schools. Raids won’t solve the problem, of course, especially when vulnerable pupils are under fire. «Police officers outside schools would worsen the problem,» says Katerina Matsa, who is charge of the 18 Ano program. «In America, where they implemented this measure, they have solved neither the drug problem or the weapon problem.» The personal crisis that many children are experiencing reflects a more general crisis in society, Matsa believes. «Young people live at a rapid pace, they are constantly being asked to memorize things, but at the same time they have no support, no role model and no point of reference. And schools no longer form the personality. Children need to get away from misery and routine. But when they get into drugs they realize they are experiencing another kind of routine that is even more intense.»

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