Deaths from drugs decline in Turkey: Report

Deaths from drugs decline in Turkey: Report

ISTANBUL - Demirören News Agency
Deaths from drugs decline in Turkey: Report

Deaths from substance abuse have declined in Turkey, but the use of drugs obtained with fake prescriptions is increasing, according to a report by the country’s Interior Ministry.

Some 340 people lost their lives due to substance abuse last year in Turkey, down from 657 in 2018, 941 in 2017 and 920 in 2016.

In the first half of 2020, more than 63,000 anti-drug operations were conducted, with nearly 91,000 suspects detained. Some 22,000 tons of marijuana, 4,600 tons of heroin and 225 kilograms of cocaine were seized.

People who can no longer lay their hands on these illicit drugs are increasingly obtaining drugs from pharmacies with counterfeit red and green flag prescriptions, which contain the illicit substances and must be used only under doctors’ watch, according to experts.

“There is huge jump in the use of synthetic drugs which should be taken only under the watch of doctors,” said Barış Tuncer, a family counselor at Altınbaş University in Istanbul.

In 2018, 2 million synthetic drugs were seized, but the number in the first six months of this year has already reached 1.5 million, according to data provided by Tuncer.

“The Interior Ministry is carrying out successful operations, but drug dealers are pushing for new types of drugs,” added Tuncer.

Recently, Ankara police busted a gang that obtained a prescribed drug called Lyrica, by using pensioners’ information and some doctors’ e-prescription passwords.

At least 130 fake e-prescriptions prepared by this gang have been found, according to the police officials.

“It is the police’s responsibility to battle against these people writing e-prescriptions with doctors’ passwords and pensioners’ information. Because as a pharmacist, we cannot detect if an online prescription is fake or not,” said Zozan Padel, a board member of the Chamber of Pharmacists in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, Tuncer, who said that 75 percent of young drug users admit they obtain them from their friends, warned parents to be vigilant.

“Parents should know who their children’s friends and their families are,” he said.