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The Youth Secretariat of PAME took the initiative to call the trade unions, the unions of students-apprentices, parents’ associations, university and technical college students, to open the discussion about the important issue of drugs. For us this is a major issue. The class oriented trade union movement has a clear position and promotes this position without hesitation through various initiatives every year. Our slogan “NO TO ALL DRUGS”, neither soft nor hard, neither cheap nor expensive, our uncompromising position against all expressions of the Drug-culture is the militant way of life! We want this position to reach everybody, everywhere, to start the discussion about drugs, the causes of drug abuse, and the way out. We want to strengthen our intervention in all workplaces, in training and apprenticeship schools, we want to weaken the views of decriminalisation, differentiation of drugs, we want to destroy this Drug- culture.

 There are people who argue that a young person may use drugs because he is curious, because of the attraction he feels because they are illegal, difficult to get, etc. Others support that drug use is related to medical, biological or psychological causes.

We feel the need to express, as an introduction, some concerns. Which is the real reason that a young person today finds a solution to the experienced impasses in drugs?

In Greece today, young people are unemployed at a rate of 58.3%; some manage to work once or twice a week in the black economy, while those working normally receive a salary equivalent to pocket money, 400 euros. Words such as steady job and not 2 month contracts, full employment and not 4-hour workday are unknown to young people.

Basic necessities, such as to support a family on one’s own, have become dreams unfulfilled. The workers’ right to Social Security and Health Care-once conquered with bloody struggles- has been abolished. If the patient cannot afford it, he does not have right to treatment. Moreover, the working class family is unable to provide its children with everything necessary for their studies, has no access to sports, culture, while even more people will not be able to go on vacations to have some rest.   

We could fill pages describing the innumerable obstacles a young person experiences today; obstacles and barriers to do anything, to have access to education, health, work, leisure time. So we believe that it is not necessary to use more time to describe the situation.

The real reason a young person may resort to drugs is that, through drug abuse this person is led to a hallucinatory way out; a way out from the deadlocks a young person lives daily on a personal and social level. Through drug abuse a young person seeks what he is in need of. The problem of addiction has got many causes and involves a large number of factors. So even if one person initially because of imitation, used a substance, the chances are that this person would not continue using, had it not been the need to free himself from the impasses of the daily life.

(The research findings for drug addicts starting treatment in rehabilitation centers in 2011 are characteristic: 47% of them were unemployed, one in ten did not have stable housing, 36% had only finished elementary school and 2% had not even finished elementary school.)

This kind of life and these restrictions for the workers, the young people, for the working class family, constitute the prerequisite so that the country’s economy will be competitive, so that there will be “growth”, as they tell us. So that the wealth produced from us, can be concentrated in the hands of a few monopoly groups.

In these conditions, therefore, it is necessary for them to form a docile worker, distanced, as far away as possible, from any kind of struggle and demand, disciplined in accordance with their ideology. Since the big bosses, as they themselves say, fear social uprisings, the measures taken, besides brutal repression, should be more “sophisticated”, to aim directly people’s consciousness.

By all means, they create the ground, for a passive lifestyle, harmless to their system. Through the spreading of drugs, the ruling class tries to neutralise the militant tendencies of the new generation, to knock it out. Their aim is the workers and the youth not to be able to act, but on the contrary, to “relax” using marijuana and the likes.

Through drug addiction a person is dissocialised. Drug addiction leads to a complete lack of self-awareness and total alienation of the individual from his fellow persons and the society. Therefore, there is no risk of people organizing themselves, challenging the system and struggling to overthrow it!


All the forces in support of the EU, call people to make sacrifices in order for the profits of ship-owners, industrialists and bankers to grow. The same forces, inside or outside of the Parliament, using various arguments, support drugs to be free. They present bills copying legislations about drugs from other European countries, where the rates of drug abuse are high, (Czech Republic 46%, Spain 38%, Switzerland 34%, France 53%), while in our country the rate of drug abuse is one of the lowest (Greece 9%).

The workers are well aware of these parties, also through the actions of their forces within the trade union movement in the workplaces; they are those, who take part in “social dialogues”, who adopt-defend and jointly form the decisions of the EU so that our country’s economy will be “competitive”.  That is why they sign everywhere Collective Agreements with wage cuts, segregating young workers (for whom they sign bigger reductions in numerous sectors of the economy) and they help abolish every conquest that we had won the previous period. They are the 5th phalanx in the workers’ movement with a key role for the contempt of trade unionism in our country, to the corruption of collective action.

 Let us now look at some of the key positions they use



PAME has got a crystal clear position against all drugs.

We do not accept the differentiation of drugs.

It’s like accepting the differentiation of problems that make a young person today vulnerable to the attack. Let the defenders of this distinction, the governments and the so called “progressives” who are on the same side on their on the differentiation of drugs. Answer us: What position do they take as far as social causes are concerned? Non-paid work, poverty, wage-cuts, unemployment among young people are extremely high; Are these of soft or hard content? Or more simply: Capitalism is soft or hard?

The argument that distinguishes drugs to hard–soft, as far as the phenomenon of drug addiction is concerned, separates the biological human function from the social human function. This means that if we approach the addiction only in terms of biology, we totally deny its social character. The causes leading to the “selection” of a drug are common, no matter the substance chosen. The differentiation between hard-soft drugs can be pharmacological, in no case, however, can it be social and psychological.

Another side is the following: These last couple of years, in our country, SYRIZA(neo-socialdemocrats), ecologists and a number of wall funded NGOs, organise the so-called decriminalization festival, or the drug- culturefestival seeking the legalisation of cannabis. There, also, take part organizations supposedly concerned with detox and the implementation of the “anti-drug” policy, like the Organisation Against Drugs.

One of the favourite arguments of the supporters of the decriminalisation movement is the “Dutch model”, where a limited quantity of certain drugs is provided in specific and “special” areas, the “coffee shops”. Of course, the Dutch experiment has many negative results, according to reports by the Dutch Ministry of Health. The Dutch authorities have been considering even its abolition, since the use of heroin, cocaine and other drugs has increased. The city of Amsterdam has turned into the centre of international drug trafficking, and it has also become the first city in crime rates, in the world. Indeed, since January 2013 measures have been taken to limit“coffee shops”, such as the following: Entrance is permitted only to people over 18 who are members and each “coffee shop” can have up to 2,000 members a year. These measures also set a minimum distance between “coffee shops” and schools.

A supposedly progressive argument, which re-emerges every time, is that of “freedom of will and freedom to dispose your own body”.

Initially the addiction itself cancels any possibility and meaning of freedom. Choosing to use drugs is not an individual choice, since the basis of the phenomenon, the root of the problem has social causes. So in reality it is not a free choice. Simply put, the young person, who is cast aside in unemployment, is not free. Same is the worker sentenced to live with hunger-wages, and the student who cannot afford to his studies.

 Another argument supports the limitation of the damage, by using drug-substitutes. The argument aiming at the limitation of the famage rather than detoxing, adopted by the EU, has supporters also in Greece. In short, what they claim is that drug addiction is treatable and therefore a person should manage it, reducing its effects. People, entering the various substitution programmes are administered opioid substances, which affect the central nervous system and cause addiction, just like other drugs. The substances administered are methadone and buprenorphine.

(It is interesting to see that 1 in 10 users entering treatment for the first time in   11 European countries, have stated that they are addicted mainly to methadone and buprenorphine, whereas in Finland most opioid users state that they primarily use buprenorphine. Toxicology tests run to examine the exact cause of death in drug-use related deaths have detected, in a large percentage, besides heroin also methadone and buprenorphine, which as mentioned above are substances administered.)

Besides form the above mentioned arguments, one has to have in mind that this Drug-Culture is also promoted through “lifestyle” and the cultural garbage broadcasted by the media.

Today, in conditions of capitalist crisis, all the causes and the impasses, above mentioned, exist and become more intense. Workers (and young people even more) see no prospect in life; under this perspective the likelihood for a person to seek “escape” and start using drugs becomes bigger. It is no coincidence that during times of crisis, new synthetic drugs make their debut. Drugs that cost less and can reach and hit more people. At the same time unemployment and growing problems for every working family make it more difficult to seek treatment.

Remember the case in Argentina. There, in 2001, while the crisis was deepening as well as its impact on the lives of the working-class families, a new drug appeared for the first time, known as “pako”. This drug was extremely cheap and became known also as “the destroyer of the poor” or as “the mind thief”, nicknames indicative of its purpose. The managing director of the Social Care against Addictions in Buenos Aires, himself explained why pako appeared in Argentina, saying “We have no doubt that a generation of teenagers and young people had to be exterminated; we are talking about the generation that would not have a job, that would have no place in schools and universities, would not be able to integrate in the society, and furthermore, that this generation should not fight for their rights against these policies.” The crisis may be overcome in Argentina, but pako stayed. (According to estimations 500,000 doses are used daily in Argentina, and the abuse of pako has increased to 200% during the last decade, already in conditions of growth).

Recently a similar drug made its maiden appearance in Athens. “Sisa” or “poor man’s cocaine” is a new substance, which appeared (like pako) during the time the capitalist crisis deepens in Greece. It is a form of crystal methamphetamine, which costs 2 or 3 euros and is terribly dangerous since it contains ingredients such as battery fluids, rodenticides, acetone, bleach, kerosene and strychnine. Because of its low price, this drug’s use is growing. At the same time the users are getting younger and younger, this results even to 14-year old users. According to research by Therapy Centre for Dependent Individuals in 2011, 95% of the drug users are aware of this substance and 68.5% of them use it occasionally.



Can the problem of drugs have a definite solution?


We should not forget that drug trafficking is already a profitable enterprise. The amount of “narco-dollars” per year is about 500 billion. There are connections with brokerage, tax, and legal firms, organised crime, and also state mechanisms (prisons etc.).

Therefore, as long as the system we live in favors the profits of monopolies, the problem of drugs cannot have a definite solution. Drug addiction, as a phenomenon, can be totally dealt only in a society without class exploitation.

This, of course, does not mean that the addict can not detoxify if he wants to and if he is determined to get up and stand on his feet. In this direction there are direct and realistic solutions–demands for:


Prevention – Treatment – Social Reintegration


Therapeutic communities

PAME supports the struggles of workers of therapeutic communities and prevention centres, which are under attack, because they are every now and then under the threat of closing. The politics applied through the under-funding, aim at the shutting-down of places like these. This is of course a conscious and deliberate choice.

We demand generous funding from the state budget for all these institutes, where prevention, treatment and reintegration is supported. We demand public and free programmes, where detoxification will be the goal, without hidden agendas in favour of substitute substances, with the use of which, we firmly believe that addiction is sustained. We are against any attempt to privatize these services. We fully support the workers of prevention centres, who give a very difficult battle to support the people against addictions and substances, under extremely hard conditions, conditions common for the vast majority of the working people.





Class-oriented trade union movement, PAME, opposes clearly to all drugs. Our position is not something special or detached from the class struggle! It is part of the class struggle.

We want to emphasize that this battle, the struggle against all drugs is yet another battle in the relentless war between the working class and the bourgeoisie on who will win the hearts and minds of youth.

We cannot view the problem of drugs without bearing in mind the conditions where it is created, distanced from the societal dimensions, this means without having in mind the fact that the system we live is an exploitative one. The overthrow of the causes that give rise to the problem is directly linked to the overthrow of this system.

We fight the social causes. We do not treat addiction as a brain damage, necessary evil or a new epidemic. Addiction has deep roots in insecurity, unemployment, poverty, class barriers to education, the dominant reactionary cultural norms and values.

We also face the same impasses that lead young people to the solution of drug-use, we are not from another planet. But what we have to propose to young people is the struggle and collective claim to demand everything we must have. We show a rebellious, optimistic, militant way of life. Instead of “escaping” to untrue paradises, we propose the struggle in line with the working class and all the people in order to win the world, which belongs to us. The world where the working class, will rule.

Each and every day we give the battle for the supremacy of our ideas in every industry, in every workplace and factory. It is of great interest to us, from the standpoint of the interests of the people, that more and more workers and youth join the trade unions, strengthen the class-oriented line in the trade union movement. This restructuring of the labour movement goes through the conscious struggle of workers, young workers, young people who are still students or apprentices. They need to be convinced of their right, they need to have and develop a pioneer, militant attitude towards life, and they need to be irreconcilable with drug-culture, with any culture that, in general, demands them to be obedient and slaves.

We will do everything in our power so that in the next period, the trade unions, federations and regional labour centres affiliated to PAME intensify their struggle. So that initiatives and activities will spread widely to young workers the position of struggle against any substitute or substance.

The struggle of the unions is the struggle for drug prevention, away from substitute programs, which do not address the problem but rather sustain it.

Children of the working families, young workers, students, pupils and apprentices must not be sacrificed because of the callings of the drug culture. They must threaten the power of their exploiters and take a leading role in the future struggles.

The real solution to the problem is in the organised struggle of the people’s, social alliance for the total overthrow of the anti-people’s policies and the power of the monopolies that are the cause of these problems. This means when the working class with its allies take the power in their hands, when we eliminate the causes which lead to the exploitation of man by man, when we abolish the exploitative system. Only then will we find the definitive solution to the problem of drugs.

It is the struggle for growth where in its centre is the contemporary needs of the people and not the profits of monopolies.





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