A survey by the Interior Ministry conducted with drug users questioned for drug-related crimes found most took drugs “out of curiosity.” A 64-question survey was conducted among 6,143 people who volunteered to participate after they were detained or questioned for drug use. The survey shows the average age users first start taking drugs is 18, and 33 percent of users tried drugs out of curiosity while 23 percent tried it “after being introduced by friends.” Another 14 percent say they simply tried after “seeing friends trying it.”
The survey also contradicts the myth that drug users are mostly from broken families or orphans. More than 67 percent say they live with their parents. Another 44.6 percent say they were not victims of domestic violence, another myth about the motives driving people to drugs.
According to the survey, most users were already smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol before trying drugs. More than 31.4 percent of the users said they were hooked on the drugs within the year they tried them first and turned to friends and friends of friends to acquire drugs.
Turkey is more known as a transit country for drug smuggling between Europe and Asia and though the country largely boasts success in counter-narcotic operations, drug abuse remains a problem. Synthetic drugs in particular pose a threat to the country’s youth. There are no concrete figures regarding the rate of drug use in the general population, but a police report from 2018 shows 941 people died of drug use in 2017.