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Report 1600 Chronic Drug Addicts

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Attorney General Aharon Barak told the Cabinet today that according to estimates by the Health Ministry there are about 1600 chronic drug addicts in Israel and about 100,000 persons use drugs, mainly hashish, but are not categorized as addicts. He also noted that Is rael has no facilities for curing drug addiction, except in mental hospitals and many persons desiring a cure refuse to be placed in mental institutions.

Barak appeared before the Cabinet to elaborate on his recent report on drug use and abuse in Israel, a subject that made the headlines recently when the use of drugs by high school students was revealed. The public was shocked to learn that the drug users came from affluent homes as well as from poverty families and that drug “pushers” were active at many schools.

Barak stressed that the figures contained in his report were only estimates. But he noted that they were not static. He estimated that the number of chronic drug users increases by about 150 persons a year. The Attorney General called for a clear national policy to deal with the problem and recommended the establishment of a central narcotics bureau to formulate policy and combat the use of narcotics, especially “hard” drugs.

He also urged the establishment of drug clinics where addicts could seek cures without the stigma of being committed to a mental institution. Barak noted that drug use rose sharply in Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War when the West Bank became a conduit for drugs originating in Jordan. He said that according to police, one of the chief centers of the flourishing drug market in Israel is East Jerusalem.

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