Enhanced Youth Counselling Program Launched by University of Copenhagen to Combat Opioid Misuse

In Denmark, there is easy access to pain-relieving opioids and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines through various channels, leading to an increase in the use of these highly addictive substances among young people. In response to this alarming trend, the Danish Health Authority has called for municipalities to focus on local prevention efforts.

A recent report from the Criminological Observatory at the University of Copenhagen has outlined seven key recommendations for the City of Copenhagen and other stakeholders to address the misuse of opioids and benzodiazepines among youth. These recommendations include increasing knowledge in youth education programs, providing proactive drug counsellors in secondary schools, and creating non-reportable counselling services for young people with substance misuse issues.

The report, based on a survey of young people in the capital, highlights how these substances are used to combat social anxiety and restlessness. Professor Henrik Vigh, head of the Criminological Observatory, notes that the use of drugs by young people often goes unnoticed as they are consumed in private settings.

The study also reveals that many young people do not perceive opioids and benzodiazepines as dangerous due to their pill form and prescription status. This lack of awareness underscores the need for targeted information and counselling programs for youth.

The report emphasizes the importance of addressing the underlying causes of drug misuse, such as feelings of discontent and the need for self-medication to cope with stress and anxiety. It also calls for the creation of anonymous counselling services to remove barriers to seeking help.

Overall, the University of Copenhagen’s initiative aims to combat the misuse of opioids and benzodiazepines among young people by providing targeted education, counselling, and support services. By addressing the root causes of drug use and promoting well-being, the program seeks to prevent addiction and improve the overall health of Danish youth.