Students use tricks to keep their softdrug habit a secret

POSTED: 11/5/14 10:15 AM

ROTTERDAM – Students from Curacao who are using softdrugs in the Netherland use all kinds of tricks to keep their habit a secret – especially for their parents back home, a survey by Najola Martina shows. The criminologist fears that the taboo about softdrugs could lead to problems for the students, John Samson reports on Caribisch Netwerk.

The students do not like to admit that they sometimes spend up to €100 ($125) on drugs. According to Martina, they are going quite far in keeping this secret: “some of them decrease their drug use weeks before they go for a vacation to Curacao, so that they do not show any withdrawal signs on the island. When parents or family members come for a visit to the Netherlands, friends keep their stock and they don’t blow at home anymore.”

When parents want to Skype with their children, students often ignore the call when they have been blowing. Other tricks students mentioned are the use of eye drops, chewing gum and perfume.

The survey shows that students in advanced vocational education (hbo) and scientific education (wo) who openly admit their softdrug use, also continue to mask their habit: “They camouflage their drug use out of respect for their parents and especially because they do not want to disappoint or hurt their mother,” Martina says. Some students use their parents’ health as an excuse. What they really fear is being labeled as a drogadikto or a chòler (junkie).

It is a qualitative survey and for that reason, Martina does not want to draw any hard conclusions. The criminologist is worried though about the fact that students find it very difficult to ask for help when this is necessary. “This concerns mostly youngsters who already used softdrugs in Curacao. Those who begin experimenting with softdrugs in the Netherlands usually kick the habit on their own,” Martina says.

She wants more research and data about the group of students from Curacao in the Netherlands. “They disappear very fast in the statistics and they only look at the group that is involved in criminal activities.”

Many parents in Curacao think that their children get into drugs for the first time in the Netherlands. Martina’s survey shows otherwise: “Parents have the idea that the Netherlands is a free for all. Most youngsters use soft drugs for the first time in Curacao and they continue their habit in the Netherlands.”

“We have a shame and silence culture,” Martina says. “If people know that you are using drugs, it is hearing, seeing and keeping silent. This helps these youngsters to keep it a secret.”

There is one positive point: the survey shows that, according to the respondents, the taboo is becoming debatable in Curacao.

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