Drug Use in Palermo

In ancient times, Spanish merchandise, culture and Vicer? (the Spanish governors) were imported to Sicily. Today, Spain provides most of the drugs which infest the city of Palermo; primarily cocaine, but also heroin and hashish. These drugs normally travel by sea, reaching the port of Naples first, and the Sicilian capital later by land, thanks to the alliance between Spanish traffickers, the Sicilian and Neapolitan mafia. However, drugs arrive in Palermo not just from Spain but along all the traditional routes of the international drug traffic, and what happens after its arrival is the most alarming part.

According to the reports of the police who are constantly engaged in the fight against drug trafficking, the drug dealing network of Palermo is thick and deeply rooted, especially in the poorest districts of the city. The situation here has already been compared by some to one of the Brazilian Favelas, since some of the pushers and drug addicts arrested are still children, like the 8 year old boy who ended up on all the newspapers in 2008, forced by his family to sell cocaine. These are children with very little or no education, born and raised in dysfunctional families, who spend all their time in the streets. Here they are easily recruited, gotten to “work” by the grownups and then paid very little money or a dose of cocaine or heroin, which they will smoke, in hiding, to forget all the rest.

Almost all addicts who resort to the public addiction services of Palermo are young and male, mainly age 30 to 34. Among these, the main substance of abuse is heroin, followed by cocaine. Cocaine is more and more used by all types of people and from all levels of society, from employees to traders, to professionals from the “high-class” Palermo, who, if particularly distinguished, get the drug delivered directly to their homes. There are also young people and students from the hinterland who commute daily to the city to buy marijuana, which is then redistributed to friends who can’t afford a trip to the city.

We could continue with a thousand other stories of drugs in Palermo, but what is clear is that young people are the main victims and the city needs effective actions to educate its youth and prevent the early use of drugs. Narconon not only can offer support with its drug prevention program for students and educators, but also an effective drug rehabilitation program for those who already struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, as well as counseling and aid to their families. The Narconon program has already helped many in Palermo and in Sicily to discover a new drug-free life. For information about the Narconon program, or to request the assistance of a Narconon consultant for any drug problem, please write to info@narconon.org, or visit the page of our Narconon centers in Europe.