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Expert: reducing number of alcohol, tobacco, and drug users to 1% is possible in Latvia

BC, Riga, 30.03.2015.Print version
Reducing the number of residents who smoke and use alcohol or drugs to one percent of the population is possible, however, it requires educating people at a very early age, as well as implementing radical amendments to the law, believes Astrida Stirna, the head of the Latvian Association of Narcologists.

Stirna told LETA that Health Minister Guntis Belevics' (Unity) aim to reduce the percentage of the population who smoke and abuse alcohol or drugs to one percent by 2065 is the "ideal option", and it is not unachievable. She believes that it is too late to educate the youth about the effects of addictive substances, such kind of education has to start already at an early age.


In order to prevent the youth from using various harmful substances, it would be necessary to introduce alternatives to their leisure time activities. Stirna believes that young people indulge in alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse to forget their daily problems, and because they lack quality leisure time activities. "We must create environment where young people would have no desire to use intoxicating substances," Stirna said.


In order to achieve this, there has to be a clear plan of action, says Stirna. The law has to be amended, and the availability of alcohol and tobacco restricted. "This is a complicated process," the expert stresses. Alcohol producers are currently focusing on aggressive advertising which influences the youth, and it would be necessary to limit it in order to reduce the demand, the medic adds.


Not all goals are attainable, however, the "higher they are, the greater the achievement," notes Stirna.

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