Politics | February 18, 2002, Monday // 00:00

31 percent of boys and 15.7 percent of girls say that soft drugs should be legalized, data from a poll conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation among 480 students from two secondary schools in Sofia show. Thirty-five percent of the boys and 57.8 percent of the girls said there are drug addicts among their friends or acquaintances. Asked if they have ever tried any soft drugs, 40 percent of the boys and 40.7 percent of the girls replied that they have. Asked if they have ever used any hard drugs, 2 percent of boys
and 1.43 percent of girls said "yes". Respondents' answers to the question "What are the reasons for drug misuse" 22.1 percent of the interviewed family problems are the main reason for using drug; 22.4 percent said the main reason is the influence of friends; according to 25.5 percent is curiosity; 17.9 percent believe it is depression; and 1 percent said the reason for abusing drugs is getting poor marks
at school. The students who have tried or use drugs are getting younger. According to data released by the specialized institutions, the number of drug users who died from overdosing in 2001 increased by 12 percent compared to 2000. Official statistics show that 70,000 people a year use marijuana, 30,000 use heroin, 4,000 use cocain, and 75,000 abuse various drugs and volatile substances. The distribution and misuse of drugs has become a very serious problem in the big Bulgarian cities - Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas.

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