SCDI Center for Community Development Initiatives




Children and Youth

Many young people use drugs for the purpose of trying out and getting strange feelings.

Oct. 27, 2018

On the morning of 27 October in Hanoi, the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) organized 'Mental Health and Drug Use among young people: Understanding and Supporting” workshop. At the workshop, many experts proposed that there are many diverse causes leading to drug use in adolescents, but most young people use drugs initially for the purpose of testing and getting strange feelings.


According to Dr. Nguyen Song Chi Trung, Vietnam HIV Addiction Technology Transfer Center (VHATTC), Ho Chi Minh University of Medicine and Pharmacy, said that there were many diverse causes leading to drug use in adolescents, but there were usually reasons behind such as the pressure of asserting yourself and belonging to a group of friends, being abused, witnessing parent divorces, being subjected to tough childhood, etc.


8373ff0fb94950170958Delegates are sharing at the conference 


Most young people use drugs only for purpose of testing at first and they will stop using them after a while, but some of the young are at higher risk of drug abuse and drug addiction because they are affected by other factors.


As stated by Dr. Trung, stigma and discrimination are serious barriers limiting sharing, seeking help and getting access to the support for young people who use drugs. There are up to 65.9 % of young drug users who are afraid of reactions of surrounding people if they were detected to use drugs and 53.8% felt it necessary to hide their status.


"There is currently no separate study of stigma and discrimination carried out among young people with drug abuse and mental disorders, but it is significant that this group will be subjected to a lot of stigmas, accordingly becoming more isolated and stuck. The more isolated the drug users feel, the later diagnosis of the disorder will be, the longer the treatment will be delayed, making it hard and taking much more time for the damages caused by using drugs and mental disorders in the brain to recover”- Dr. Nguyen Song Chi Trung said.


In Vietnam, according to the latest report of UNICEF (2018) on mental health status in children and young people aged from 14 to 18, the average rate of mental disorders in this group was 12%, and common problems were depression, anxiety disorders, fear of loneliness and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Thus, it is estimated that in Vietnam there are at least 3 million young people living with mental health problems, but only about 20% of them receive medical supports and necessary treatments. Meanwhile, a number of people search for and use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs to "cure" themselves, to soothe the pain of mental disorders.


However, this healing method is not only harmful in treating mental disorders, but it increases the risk of drug abuse and addiction as well.


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