VILNIUS – Drug use among teenagers is no longer just a national problem, Kestutis Budrys, the presidential advisor on national issues says, adding that it now exceeds the national security threshold.
"We have to re-categorise the problem here. (...) It is not just a national problem, we can already say that it now exceeds the national security threshold and we must view it as such," Budrys said on Monday after President Gitanas Nauseda's meeting several ministers and the police chief.
"When we deal with national security issues, we do not only use felt-tips, teddy bears, drawing competitions or any kind of campaigns, but we also use harsher measures, and from now on we should treat them absolutely as an unavoidable necessity," he said, adding that right now "the state has no control over this problem".
"In the medium to long term, with appropriate investments, in terms of time, resources, and through the involvement of communities, in other words, a bottom-up approach, we would certainly achieve greater results, but in the short term we need a top-down solution," he said.
There's currently no detailed data on drug use by region, by substance, but that "we have plenty of data to suggest that the trends are negative", the presidential advisor said, adding that decades of prevention programs and campaigns are not working.
"Either we are not doing what needs to be done, or we are imitating what needs to be done," Budrys said.