Marijuana Use in Bulgaria Is Nearly Epidemic, Expert Alerts

Marijuana Use in Bulgaria Is Nearly Epidemic, Expert Alerts

Pleven, North Central Bulgaria, December 12 (BTA) - The use of marijuana in Bulgaria is assuming nearly epidemic proportions, and the use of amphetamines has increased in the past year, Associate Prof. Vassil Atanassov of the largest specialized toxicological laboratory in the country at the Military Medical Academy in Sofia said in an interview for BTA in Pleven.

For the first time, there has been a serious increase in emergency patients with symptoms of severe intoxication after using marijuana. The trend of using amphetamines in combination with marijuana has been registered in the emergency patients at the clinic, he noted.

According to the Customs Agency and the specialized institute of the Interior Ministry, the marijuana distributed currently has an exceedingly high degree of active substance. Where in the past years the content of this active substance varied up to 2 per cent, the marijuana distributed currently has active substance of 22, 25 to 27 per cent, Atanassov said. These are specially selected varieties and it is even suspected that there are GMO varieties raised and distributed for psychoactive ends, the expert said. The human organism cannot react identically to such large quantities of active substance. Not every brain can cope with such tension, he explained.

Until last year, amphetamines ranked first in term of narcotic intoxication cases, very frequently in combination with metamphetamines, mostly prepared in garages and with many toxic substances that alone can cause serious problems. Then again, there is the increasing use of marijuana, which is approaching nearly epidemic proportions.

Designer drugs are used episodically

According to experts, there is a third element in episodic use of drugs, more specifically designer drugs, about which society should be notified. These are new and in many groups, but in Bulgaria they are most frequently distributed under the label of tea or herbs from which cigarettes are made and which are smoked, Atanassov said. In his opinion, these are substances with unspecified effects on the body. They are made with makeshift means, with unknown dosages and the effects are frequently dramatic, involving loss of consciousness and coma. They are episodic and are distributed among the children in secondary schools.

There is a dire need of revision of legislation related to drug control for drivers

The number of drivers using marijuana and driving after that has increased in the past year. In most cases the doctors have established combined use of narcotic substances, most frequently marijuana with alcohol, marijuana with amphetamines or marijuana with coke. This is a trends that has been going on for a second year in a row for drivers, the expert says.

Bulgaria urgently needs revision of legislation related to control of narcotic substances in the case of drivers as the existing ordinance is exceedingly outdated - it was passed in 1980, and there are a number of omissions and other problems, Atanassov said. This means that many of the drivers caught with proven abuse of one and more narcotic substances shall be acquitted in court and shall not bear the relevant criminal liability.

Vassil Atanassov was awarded the Best Sofia University Young Scientist of the Year Award in 2016. He was participating in an annual meeting of toxicologists in Bulgaria in Pleven.

Source: Sofia