The government is considering rehabilitation villages to assist the recovery of drug addicts and provide support for former addicts. Former Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who was replaced yesterday in a cabinet reshuffle, chaired a meeting of government representatives on counternarcotic measures and announced the idea to reporters yesterday.
"This is a concept common in some countries. It is only a proposal for now, but we consider setting up such places, preferably outside cities, both for the rehabilitation of addicts and providing employment for them after the recovery. They may stay with their families after recovery," Kurtulmuş said, noting that other countries have had success with such projects. "This can be a government initiative or we can contract private companies." In 2014, Turkey adopted its first action plan against drugs, addiction to which threatens around 2.7 percent of the population. It covers all aspects of the fight against narcotics, from raising awareness of their dangers and curbing demand to rehabilitation and treatment of addicts and facilitating social inclusion. It also paved the way for the establishment of narc squads, specialized police units active in neighborhoods where drug sales are concentrated.
Kurtulmuş told reporters that they also focused on the prevalence of synthetic drugs, which are cheap and easily accessible, especially for youths. He said they are assembling a comprehensive catalog for a more efficient fight against those drugs. "These drugs mutate over time and their contents can be modified. We ban one drug but [drug producers] invent another one in no time," he added. He said synthetic drugs followed "a reverse route" compared to other types. "These drugs are sourced from the West. We pursue efforts to stop production and sales. It is a challenge, but it is a national duty. This is something we are mobilized to combat," he said.
With synthetic and homemade drugs becoming an increasing problem on the streets of major Turkish cities, police are now refocusing their efforts to eliminate these deadly substances. Scenes of synthetic drug users in zombie-like states on the streets of Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir have raised calls for more action. Police have cracked down on the synthetic drug known as bonzai in recent years, which reportedly replaced cannabis and ecstasy as an easily attainable drug for young urbanites. However, police raids on bonzai sellers have pushed dealers to sell other substances. While bonzai is produced outside of Turkey, the new drugs can be made at home, which makes them cheaper to produce and more profitable. The new drugs often contain normally harmless veronica or damiana leaves laced with chemicals, such as bug spray and acetone.