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Drug Addiction in Calabria, Southern Italy

Drug Addiction HelpWhile the figures appear to be less significant compared to other areas of the Italian peninsula, drug addiction in the southern region of Calabria is unfortunately a sad and symptomatic reality - and partly also a cause - of its traditional social distress that up to these days the region has struggled to overcome. As in the rest of southern Italy, in Calabria the drug market is dominated and controlled solely by the organized crime, in this case by the 'Ndrangheta, which often handles the traffic directly with the drug lords, as in the case of cocaine, which comes from Latin America by commercial vessels and containers intended just for drug import.

Contrary to the general trend of the rest of the country, the local heroin use has increased, and growing even at a faster pace is the use of cocaine. The median age of drug users has dropped, in particular with reference to marijuana and cannabinoids that are typically used and abused by teenagers, but in some cases even by children. And the danger goes far beyond the short or long term damage created by smoking marijuana cigarettes, because the substance is often cut with other drugs far more addictive than cannabis.

Statistics of drug use in Calabria

In 2008, according to official statistics from Servizio Tossicodipendenze (the Italian public agency for drug addiction services) in Calabria more than 3,500 people were treated for drug abuse, 6.32% of which for use of cannabis, 84,97% for heroin and 7,13% for cocaine. But to these figures we must also add the number of those who, for different reasons, don't seek the assistance of treatment facilities, such as alcoholics, women and young people recently initiated to the use of drugs, and also those who, unfortunately, become addicted because of the use of psychiatric drugs and other prescription drugs, like antidepressants or opium-based painkillers, often too easily dispensed by medical doctors. Bottom line, the real figures of drug and alcohol abuse in Calabria are much higher.

Treatment and Prevention

In Calabria there are 27 drug addiction treatment facilities, with a total capacity of 113 patients in semi-residential facilities and 468 in residential facilities. One of these is the Narconon drug rehabilitation center Comunit? Narconon Falco, located in Contrada Monti, near Altilia, in the province of the city of Cosenza. Formed in 1990, the center and its staff have received numerous awards from the local authorities for their work and for having saved hundreds of lives from the plague of drugs. Still near Cosenza, in the town of Rende, the Narconon program also has a drug education and prevention group. Drug prevention conferences and seminars are offered by Narconon to school students, teachers, and law enforcement authorities, as well as to private citizens who want to know more about the problem of drugs and drug addiction. For more information and contacts please visit or write to

Narconon Drug Information Department


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