New centre on substance abuse treatment in Sofia
On 29 April, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov opened an EEA Grants-financed center that will offer substance abuse treatment services for children, teenagers and parents in Sofia. The centre is the first of its kind in Bulgaria.
The ‘Pilot Centre for Children and Adolescents at Risk’ (CCAR) situated in capitol Sofia now offers specialised substance abuse programmes for Bulgarian children and adolescents. In end-April, the centre was officially opened by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.
First of its kind
As the first of its kind in Bulgaria, the centre is expected to significantly improve the treatment and rehabilitation of young people seeking help with substance abuse problems. Through training in social skills and systematic daily activities, including cultural, creative and sports activities, the centre aims to make its young clients become clean of drugs and reintegrate them into society. The opening of similar centres in other cities is already planned.
National awareness-raising campaign on drug use
The €414,000 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway has also financed a national awareness-raising campaign about drug use among children and adolescents. Bulgaria has in later years seen a dramatic increase in drug and alcohol abuse among the younger population, but there has, until now, been no drug prevention programmes specifically targeting people under the age of 18.
Drug helpline for children and teens
In relation to the campaign, a new national drug helpline was established to ensure that children and adolescents experimenting with and abusing drugs have easy access to professional help and accurate information regarding the dangers of substance abuse. The helpline started operating in July 2010. Project coordinator Elmira Nesheva of the National Centre for Addictions in Bulgaria said they received close to 600 phone calls from young people asking for help during the first six months of operation.
The project has also involved the training of social workers, law enforcement officials and educational staff in order to make them become more effective in identifying young people with substance abuse problems and more competent at early intervention techniques. Experts from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Project Office for South Eastern Europe and The Competence Centre of the City of Oslo Agency for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services have taken part in this training.
Photo: Part of a poster about the new national drug helpline established by the National Center for Addictions.
Picture caption: Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov inaugurated the EEA Grants-financed center together with Dagfrid Hjorthol, chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and Bulgarian Minister of EU Funds Management Tomislav Donchev.
Listen to Child - improvement of preventive measures and increasing the accessibility of services for children and adolescents experimenting and abusing drugs
Health and childcare
Type & project assistance:
Grant agreement date:
29 June 2009
The purpose of the Project is to implement a national drug awareness campaign and early intervention techniques, with the overall objective of improving the quality and effectiveness of preventive methods in Bulgarian drug addiction treatment. Reference is made to the application dated 25 April 2008 and any subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.
The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:
- Management and project coordination, including monitoring, evaluation and procurement,
- Implementation of national awareness campaign,
- Training, including drafting and publication of training material and manuals,
- Establishment of a national drug help line,
- Establishment of a pilot a daily centre for children and adolescents, including its renovation and equipment, and
- Publicity and dissemination of results.
The Project Promoter is the National Centre for Addictions. Subject to national law the Project shall be implemented in partnership with The Competence Centre of the City of Oslo - Agency of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (CC-ADDAS) and the Sofia Municipality Centre for Addiction.
The Focal Point shall ensure that the Bulgarian State budget provides at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible Project cost.