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Blue Cross Norway urges the government to strengthen treatment services for youth with substance abuse problems

General Secretary Trine Stensen.
Trine Stensen

25.03.2024 - "The vacuum that has emerged in the substance abuse field must cease. We hope the government will soon present the prevention and treatment reform in the substance abuse field that takes care of youth with substance abuse problems," says General Secretary Trine Stensen.

Blue Cross Norway supports the government's goal to prevent and reduce the negative consequences of substance use for individuals and society. Our most important suggestions to the government are to focus on early intervention and the goal of a good life. Substances take lives and reduce the quality of life for many. Reducing consumption will have a significant effect for individuals, for third parties such as children and siblings, and for public health.

Already in the spring of 2022, we were concerned about the vacuum that arose after the substance reform debate in 2021.

"We see that substance use among young people is increasing. In Oslo, the use of cocaine in high schools has increased from three to a whole eight percent. We also see an increase in several places in the country. More than one in four young people have been offered cocaine in the last year, and almost half of today's youth are aware that someone in their circle of friends has tried it. This concerns us," says Stensen.

Blue Cross has four demands for the government's prevention and treatment reform

Increased focus on treatment for youth with substance abuse problems. The expertise and capacity to meet youth must increase. Youth who use substances are at high risk of harm and need help quickly. This must happen both in substance treatment institutions and where the youth live, through increased funds and frameworks.

Increased focus on prevention – through education in schools and guidance for parents and guardians.

The police must have the tools they need to prevent substance use among young people and simultaneously limit a market linked to organized crime. Youth do not necessarily see the consequences of substance use either for their own health or organized crime.

Increased focus on services for children and youth growing up in homes with alcohol and other substance dependencies. This is a group with unique challenges, which must be met in a good way. Digital counseling and therapy will reach youth across the country.

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