Use of Illicit Drugs among Young Adults in a Post-Conflict Society, Kosovo 2002-2013
The use of illicit drugs is a major public health issue worldwide and has become a serious problem in Kosovo. This study aims at understanding the trends of illicit drug use among young adults between the period 2002- 2013 and intersections between changes in the social, economic and political aspects in Kosovo. In the past decade, Kosovo has gone through difficult political and socio-economic changes. Factors such as changes in political and socio-economic aspects are suggested explanations to have contributed to an increase of use of illicit drugs.
The use of illicit drugs is studied in the sample of patients who sought treatment at NGO Labyrinth for drug addiction in period 2002-2013. A total of 1001 patients were interviewed using a questionnaire that gathered data on the history of drug use and demographics. Analyses regarding their demographics type of drugs, onset use, injecting drug use, overdose and drug related deaths are presented in this study. Evidence from Labyrinth data have shown increase in the number of people who started using drugs in the period 2000-2001, which corresponds with the end of war and the introduction of substantial political and socio-economic changes in Kosovo. Several factors were indicated as the reasons for such an increase.
Ms. Dafina Muçaj, from Pristina, Kosovo, holds a Master degree in Public Health from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Pristina. She completed one-year professional development program on drug use treatment, prevention and research at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Her research focuses on substance use and HIV prevention. Recent projects have examined substance use patterns in young adults referring for substance use treatment in Kosovo and situational analysis of sex work in Albania. Currently she is a consultant at UNICEF and her work seeks to promote healthy behavior within families with focus on early childhood development.