TEL AVIV (Sep. 22)
The Education Ministry and the police have joined forces to combat one of the most urgent problems confronting Israeli society — the prevention of drug abuse by the country’s youth.
The Ministry and police announced after a meeting at national police headquarters in Jerusalem the establishment of a joint team to consolidate a comprehensive education and information policy on drug use and to coordinate with the various other authorities dealing with the issue. The meeting was attended by Education Minister Yitzhak Navon and Police Inspector-General David Kraus and their senior aides.
It is estimated that about 15,000 persons in Israel are totally addicted to drugs and between 150-200,000 are one-time, occasional or constant users. Almost all criminal offenders are drug users and criminal acts to finance the purchase of drugs are increasing.
But the main factor that has increased national awareness of the dangers of drug use is the risk of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), an invariably fatal condition which can be contracted by the use of contaminated needles to inject drugs.
Drug addicts were described at the meeting as the slaves of the 20th century. The police complained that the courts have been too lenient in the punishment meted out to drug offenders, thereby weakening the deterrent factor. The police charged there is insufficient cooperation between school principals and law enforcement authorities in the prevention of drug use and treatment for users.