Age of drug use drops below 12 in Diyarbakır, bar association reveals

Diyarbakır Bar Association deputy chair Mehdi Özdemir told Gazete Duvar in an interview that the drug usage dropped below the age of 12 in the southeastern province.

Ardıl Batmaz / Gazete Duvar

The age of drug use has dropped below 12 in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, according to data from the bar association.

According to the report prepared by the Diyarbakır Bar Association, drug use in the city is increasing every year. The report revealed that preventive measures regarding this issue are not taken as necessary and that addiction is not adequately combated.

According to the bar association, lawyers were appointed for 15 children under the age of 12 in 2020, eight children in the same category in 2021, 16 in 2022, and eight in the first eight months of 2023.

In an interview with Gazete Duvar, Diyarbakır Bar Association deputy chair Mehdi Özdemir interpreted the report of the association.

Diyarbakır Bar Association deputy chair Mehdi Özdemir

Özdemir said the drug use has been increasing for children and adults year by year in the province. He said that although the deputy chair of the Diyanet is included in the High Council for Combating Addiction, non-governmental organizations, professional chambers, bar associations, and institutions that can produce solutions to this public health problem are not included in the process, “which is an example of the state not fulfilling its obligations.”

“The execution regulations in Turkey are frequently changed and these people are released with amnesty and claims of 'reintegration into society'. However, this eliminates the deterrent effect of sentences,” Özdemir added.

He said the trial or investigation of the person using drugs is usually postponed and probation provisions are applied, which aim for hospital treatment. “However, we see that this activity is not carried out effectively. Merely referring them to the hospital is not enough to solve the problem.”

As a solution, Özdemir said the Diyarbakır Bar Association suggested that “Necessary measures should be taken to prevent the person from being socially excluded after drug treatment, to ensure their readjustment and participation in social life, and to prevent them from starting to use drugs again.”

Istanbul ranked 10th and Adana province 16th among 106 centers in Europe in methamphetamine use, according to the 2022 report of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

(English version by Alperen Şen)