Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2003
Source: Times Of Malta (Malta)
Copyright: 2003 Allied Newspapers Limited


"Safe leisure" was the message sent out to young people yesterday as they
prepared to do some serious partying during the extended Santa Marija

The message was delivered by Sedqa, the national agency against drugs and
alcohol abuse, and the Zghazagh Azzjoni Kattolika through the support of 60
youths from eight European countries who are taking part in Eurocontact 2003
in Malta.

Sedqa's chief executive, Sina Bugeja, backed by MP Michael Gonzi, said that
today's important date on the calendar of leisure activities was sometimes
tainted by mishaps caused by abuse.

Speaking in Bugibba, she urged youths to invest their time and energy in
safe and healthy choices.

Sedqa's major concern is the high intake of drugs and their perception among
youths, who are being referred to as the "chemical generation" due to
increased drug experimentation.

Across Europe, the use of amphetamines and heroin, as well as poly-drug use,
which has been shown to be linked with the dance culture, is on the
increase. Youths should act responsibly and consider the consequences of
drugs on their lives, said Ms Bugeja. There was no question that
mind-altering substances were dangerous.

Sedqa recently revamped its ongoing campaign on the long-term effects of
ecstasy and the irreversible harm it causes to the brain. The agency is also
concerned about the danger of binge drinking.