Croatian parliament (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL) Croatian parliament (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL)

State secretary Tomislav Dulibić presented numbers that were cause for concern: "20.3% of those polled consumed some sort of illegal drug at least once in their lives. The most frequently consumed illegal drug in Croatia was cannabis."

Croatia is above the European average in terms of consumption of illegal and designer drugs among young people. This includes the inhalation of popular, but also dangerous, air fresheners. Ines Strenja Linić from the MOST party warned of new psychoactive substances hitting the streets; noting that in the first half of 2018, 38 new drugs were detected.

"These psychoactive substances are sold in smart shops but also on the internet. An all-encompassing system of prevention is needed," said Stjepan Čuraj from the Croatian People's Party.

State Secretary Dulibić said the new law would allow quicker reaction since the list of illegal substances is updated once a year: "It enables the minister to immediately issue an order that would ban a substance until the next list is adopted."

MP's underlined the importance of education on drug abuse. The SDP's Domagoj Hajduković said that one kuna invested into prevention is worth four kuna spent on damage control. The HDZ's Ante Babić agreed, educational material must be sent to all teachers in elementary and secondary schools.

At the same time, opposition parties believe that integrating the government Office for Drug Prevention into the Croatian Institute for Public Health is not a viable solution

Source: HRT