What is your point of view on drug addiction

Theses on the pedagogical use of drugs in youth welfare (1999)

Developed by the Drugs Section of the IGfH

Drugs in the everyday life of youth welfare, that means above all: Young people make (first) experiences with alcohol and tobacco, take risks here ("fighting drinking"), look for an appropriate way of dealing with these everyday drugs. For a smaller group of young people, it means the use of illegal drugs, namely hashish, ecstasy and other party drugs. A risk of addiction is a rather rare occurrence, and educators in youth welfare are rarely confronted with addiction. This everyday use of drugs suggests a specific educational approach to the subject; an approach that clearly differs from the addiction and addiction prevention-oriented orientation of drug help, which brings a new point of view into the drug debate.
The Drugs Section of the IGfH presents the following position paper with the intention of describing the specific educational approach of youth welfare to the subject of drugs in a pointed and concise manner and to enrich the drug discussion with an educational point of view. "Drugs" mean both legal and illegal substances that lead to changes in consciousness and experience. "Young people" is understood here in the sense of § 7 SGB VIII (people under 27 years of age).

  1. Drugs are part of every culture. A drug-free society is not known. It is therefore the task of pedagogy in youth welfare to convey this aspect of culture and the various values ​​and norms to adolescents so that they can learn how to properly shape enjoyment and experience of being rushed.
  2. Every drug use carries risks. They can be reduced if adolescents learn to use drugs appropriately, i.e. with low risk. It is the task of pedagogy in youth welfare to contribute to the fact that adolescents can develop such a low-risk approach. Educators need to be empowered to do this through supervision and training.
  3. The risks of drug use increase when several unfavorable factors come together. One of the risk factors is the criminalization of drug-consuming young people by the BtMG. In its current version, this law is pedagogically counterproductive. Criminalization must therefore come to an end! Pedagogical professionals need legally secured room for maneuver to work with drug-consuming young people.
  4. The KJHG establishes the right of young people to various types of help from youth welfare. In doing so, youth welfare must fundamentally be about integrating young people into livable social contexts and preventing their social exclusion. Therefore, young people cannot be excluded from youth welfare services based on their specific behavior. Of course, this also applies to young people who use drugs.
  5. The youth welfare organizations are called upon to provide suitable offers for young people with problem drug use. Compulsory measures such as forced withdrawal, forced therapy or closed accommodation are not such suitable offers.
  6. The youth welfare organizations are called upon to develop and expand cooperation with drug help, schools and youth psychiatric services for young people's drug use and work with young people who have drug problems.