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The National Anti-Drug Agency, UNICEF, UNODC and RHRN reveal the results of two surveys on the use of new psychoactive substances ("ethno botanic drugs") among teenagers and injecting drug users

The National Anti-Drug Agency, the UNICEF Representation in Romania, the United Nations' Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Romanian Harm Reduction Network (RHRN) have revealed the results of two studies on the use of new psychoactive substances (“ethno botanic drugs”) among children and teenagers, with a focus on the population at risk of contacting HIV, HVB , HVC.

The main objective of the two qualitative research studies has been to identify current trends in the use “ethno botanic drugs” in order to examine their consequences on health and development and access to social and medical services. 

The two studies , Assessing the risks associated with the use of new psychoactive substances among Romanian children and teenagers  and The use of new psychoactive substances among people using injectable drugs in Bucharest , reveal that all age categories are affected by the use of legal drugs, especially children under 15 and boys in particular.

“The two studies provide the grounds for medical, social and psychological services adapted to the specificities of new psychoactive substances (NPS)  users and their use patterns, as well as a real basis  for drafting coherent policies to reduce the market supply and demand for such substances", stated quaestor Sorin Oprea, Director of the National Anti-Drug Agency.

The social demographic profile of NPS users reveals that most of them are socially integrated, well-off   young people. They are tempted to try out new substances in various combinations partly because of the lack of regulations concerning the manufacture and the sale of these substances. Over 25% of the users interviewed required medical assistance in emergency or detoxification units after using NPS.

“It is a priority to examine the situation at national level and to develop social and medical policies and services that meet the needs of NPS users, particularly in situations when drug use is directly related to HIV and Hepatitis C transmission among youngsters”, declared Valentin Simionov, Director of RHRN. 

One thing that is alarming is the significant increase of injectable NPS use, 1 in 6 users responded that they prefer this means of administration.  The risks associated with this practice include the contracting and spreading of viruses (like HIV and hepatitis) by sharing syringes and needles.

The conclusions of these surveys send an alarm signal to the entire Romanian society. The rise in NPS use poses a risk to health, because of the spread of diseases. That is why UNICEF Romania, along with the National Anti-Drug Agency, UNODC and the Romanian Harm Reduction Network (RHRN) are advocating for “a legal framework to reduce drug supply and demand, as well as developing services for those who are the most affected by drug use”, declared Edmond McLoughney, UNICEF Representative in Romania.


The National Anti-Drug Agency is a public institution whose role is to coordinate national policies in the field of the reduction of supply and demand for drugs. On the basis of the experience acquired along the years, the current vision of the National Anti-Drug Agency aims at creating a functional, coherent, integrated and user-oriented professional care system that would very well meet the needs of drug users, which will eventually lead to maintaining low levels of drug use.

The Romanian Harm Reduction Network (RHRN) was created in November 2006 with the aim of promoting, at national level, the concept of reducing the risks associated to drug use by facilitating dialogue between the civil society, public and private institutions, the ministries and the Romanian government, in order to improve the quality of services for drug users. RHRN launches and facilitates processes meant to help implementing social policies addressing drug consumers, marginalized groups and the general population.

For further information, please contact:

Codruța Hedeșiu, Public relations and media coordinator, UNICEF tel: 0212017864, e-mail:
Iuliana Teodorescu, Public relations officer -the National Anti-drug Agency, tel: 0740 142413, e-mail:
Ioana Tomuș, Project coordinator, tel: 0724 051 189, e-mail:





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