Rising methamphetamine use in Istanbul sparks concern

Rising methamphetamine use in Istanbul sparks concern

Çetin Aydın - ISTANBUL
Rising methamphetamine use in Istanbul sparks concern

The relentless rise in methamphetamine use across Türkiye, particularly in Istanbul, has presented an alarming challenge for law enforcement agencies in recent years, stoking worry among citizens.

Recent drug-related incidents, including a fatal operation in Istanbul's Kağıthane district that resulted in the death of a police officer and serious injury to another, have reignited discussions on the pressing issue of methamphetamine abuse.

According to figures provided by the General Directorate of Security, law enforcement authorities seized a staggering 1.4 tons of methamphetamine in the country in 2019, a figure that surged to 4.1 tons in 2020.

The escalating threat is reflected in the scale of drug-related apprehensions in Türkiye's most populous city. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 24,539 anti-narcotic operations have been executed in Istanbul.

These operations have resulted in the confiscation of 8.5 tons of various narcotic substances, along with over 2.5 million drug pills. Notably, during the first seven months of this year, a staggering 5.6 tons of methamphetamine were seized.

In addition to methamphetamine, authorities have also confiscated substantial quantities of other illicit substances, including 1.8 tons of cannabis, 335 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoids, known as bonsai, 320 kilograms of heroin and 217 kilograms of cocaine.

According to the 2022 report from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Istanbul ranks 10th among 106 European cities in terms of methamphetamine use.

Feramuz Erdin, a retired police chief, shed light on the alarming simplicity of methamphetamine production.

"They're not hesitating to sell it even to elementary school-age children. Those who succumb to drug use often end up becoming dealers themselves. Consequently, the burgeoning number of users is driving an increase in the ranks of sellers," Erdin warned.

Erdin further emphasized that the prevalence of drug use is most common among males, with young individuals aged 15 to 24 constituting the most vulnerable group.

"Peer influence remains the leading factor behind initial drug experimentation. Families bear a significant responsibility in addressing this issue... Prevention is easier than treatment," Erdin stressed.