A major youth problem in Eastern European countries
and Russia, glue sniffing is slowly making its
way onto the list of social dangers for young
people in Armenia.
Over the past two years, three teenagers have
been taken for treatment at the Center of Narcology
in Yerevan. One was kept for addiction therapy.
Two others were vagrants who had only tried it
a few times and use had not become habitual.
In some countries the phenomenon of hallucinating
off toxicants is so prevalent it has prompted
officials to ban the sell of glue, spray paints
and other such materials to minors. Armenia is
mercifully far from any such problem, but police
have seen enough use lately to be concerned.
According to Republic of Armenia Police Department
public relations, no minors have been arrested
this year for drug use, and only one last year.
But police say they found seven youth who were
addicted to sniffing toxicants.
A 15-year old at the Vardashen Special Education
Complex for children with socially dangerous
behavior explained the process:
You squeeze out glue into cellophane, put
it on your head like a mask and breathe,
he says. The first time when I breathed
I blacked out, but later I got used to it.
The teenager said he learned to sniff glue after
he became a resident at the complex. He had left
his home in one of the regions and come to Yerevan,
where police picked him up for vagrancy and took
him to the complex.
But it is not just street children who learn
the ease and escape of getting high.
One teenager who is now in the eighth form says
that he first sniffed glue when he was 10.
Me and my friend from our yard bought glue.
We wanted to cement something, he says.
Once we heard that you could take enjoyment
in breathing it, we squeezed it out into cellophane
and breathed. I blacked out. One year ago me and
another friend bought Moment glue
and again we squeezed it out into cellophane and
breathed. The first time I didnt like it.
This time I didnt even feel anything.
Even at its minor stage of influence among Armenian
youth, glue sniffing has evolved enough to become
part of their language. Among older teenagers,
the code of the street is that glue
sniffers get no respect. Those under the influence
of the fumes, the older ones say, become so affected
they dont even recognize their own family.
They tell of one boy who was high and wanted to
have sex with his own sister, as didnt know
who she was.
The use of narcotics is illegal in Armenia. It
is not illegal, however, to sniff glue or other
materials containing toxicants.
Simply, toxics are not on the official
list of narcotic drugs, explains deputy
director of the Republican Center of Narcology,
Mkrtich Khachatryan. In reality like narcotic
drugs toxics are psychoactive substances and repeated
usage of toxics can result in different diseases
and dependence. Like using different drugs, breathing
glue causes hallucinatory effects.
It is a cheap high (a tube of glue costs 150
drams, about 26 cents). And, even as a minor phenomenon,
specialists worry of its effects.
Khachatryan is in favor, already, of prohibiting
the sell of glue to anyone younger than 18. He
says it is better to attack the problem now, while
it can be prevented, rather than later when treatment
for addiction becomes necessary.
You cannot treat a teenager in our Center
as a drug-addicted patient, he says. Glue
is only the beginning after which these teenagers
will start using other drugs. Their young organisms
will weaken and first of all their nervous system