The drug tests for children will roll up in schools in Russia on 7 December 2013, according to the new law adopted by the
State Duma of Russian Federation. As various studies confirm, there are up to 13% of high school students who have tried drugs at least once. It’s also stated by some experts that children in Russia start experimenting with drugs when they are 10-12 y.o.
Sergey KIVENKO, Executive director of the non-governmental Center for minors’ social rehabilitation — «Yablonka» Center (Kaliningrad, Russia), was asked to give a commentary on the new law and the upcoming situation with the drug testing of children in schools for the Radio show FORT ROSS on CITY-FM 87.9 (Moscow, Russia):
Dimitrie ROSS, Radio show host: Sergey, what is your position on the new law and the necessity of drug testing for children in schools?
Sergey KIVENKO: The problem with drugs is urgent. As for the drug testing in schools, I must say that there is the whole number of questions. No doubt, some research must be done since the problem is present. As a prophylaxis measure this can be done, as well. Although when we talk about the mechanisms of the testing itself then there are questions raised by experts. The first questions would be — who are the professionals who put the questionnaire together?
Some questions in those questionnaires might seem ambiguous and not easy to understand, especially for teenagers. For instance, the questions regarding the «moderate consumption of drugs». What is «moderate» in this case? The testing might be necessary but what are the testing tools?
Dimitrie ROSS: As far as I know, in the rehabilitation Center «Yablonka» you had cases when drug addicted teenagers came to you. What were your actions? Did you test them? And what are we to do if facing a situation like this?
Sergey KIVENKO: First of all we have to understand that it’s not children’s fault that they end up in a difficult situation in their life . When you say we had such cases then you probably have to refer not to children but teenagers 15-16 y.o who at least once tried any kind of a drug. Those guys were not addicted, they were just trying drugs. This made our work in some sense easier. We tried to make them understand and feel that they are safe in «Yablonka», and that we care about them.
We are not condemning or oppressing any child because he or she is in a difficult situation. The rehabilitation of such kids was to achieve the main goal which is to reach the mutual understanding, create a bridge to this young adult and to walk on that bridge further. There is always a chance to motivate a child or a young adult to get rid of everything that’s stopping him on his way to a full development.
Dimitrie ROSS: The «Yablonka» Center is non-governmental, and your goal is the social rehabilitation. What does social rehabilitation mean for you?
Sergey KIVENKO: First of all, the social rehabilitation is a chance for children and young adults who are in difficult situations in their lives to get the so called social services. A child has physiological needs, such as have food, clothes, shoes. We provide that. We also provide for children’s social needs so that a child knows that he is safe and has possibilities to adopt to the society.