Swiss teenagers steal their mothers' sedatives, buy antidepressants on the darknet and break into pharmacies: Who are these addicted teenagers?
December 16, 2019, 6:00 a.m. Switzerland No. 52/2019
Piero * swallowed a mix of sedatives and stimulants all night long, "Xans and Amphis kicked in". Now he is sitting dazed in the reformed church in Reinach, a barren concrete building with red brick walls. He mourns the loss of Stefan, who had died of a similar drug cocktail a week earlier.
Chairs are brought in to accommodate the many mourners. The farewell is a celebration of Stefan's short life: photos and videos, plus the techno anthem Sky and Sand . It is a review of wild nights and great feelings, of a happy child and a thoughtful teenager. When his friends found him in a friend's apartment on March 29, 2019, a cigarette stuck in Stefan's corner of his mouth.
When Stefan died, he was only 20. He was popular. And notorious. He consumed everything, knew every effect. He was an expert on chemically caused limit experiences. Stefan's friends describe him as a sensitive, intelligent man, but also as someone who could not cope with his emotional world.
Piero knows what Stefan has taken. Many other teenagers sitting in the church too. The letter from Stefan's parents is addressed to her and the pastor reads it in tears. The message is: stop the pills!
Outside on the walls of the Basel agglomeration community, graffiti is reminiscent of the tragedy: " RIP Stefan" is written on school walls, on park benches, at the football pitch.
Is the story of Stefan and his clique an isolated case? Or is there a new wave of drugs behind their excessive consumption of sedatives, as some experts warn?
The Basel-based youth advocate says there is a scene in every urban community in the canton that consumes excessive prescription drugs. Sometimes there are ten young people, sometimes more than 50. There are a particularly large number in the agglomeration communities. In Münchenstein, Reinach, Muttenz, Pratteln, Allschwil and Birsfelden.
Half a year has passed since Stefan's funeral. Piero, Timo * and Luca * sit on a bench in the bus shelter of the Neuewelt tram stop in Münchenstein and tell about their lives.
Press school, screw moped, play FIFA , listen to rap, swallow Xanax. The three are every 15 years old.
Electronic music buzzes from their cell phone boxes. One after the other introduces himself shyly: Piero, a massive young man with a soft, childish face, hood pulled over his head. Timo, thinly built, the pale skin merges with the white hip-hop clothing without contrast. Luca, a tall, handsome boy with blue eyes; a stone sparkles in his right ear.
Luca: All dealers stopped after Stefan died.
Timo: We still took it anyway. Got it in town.
Piero: Kolleg said, fat man, Stefan died! I started to cry.
Luca: Really nice person, he didn't realize it.
Piero: He realized it, he was withdrawn.
Luca: Listen, the day before he died, he wrote to me: I broke out, I want to consume.
Piero: He consumed a lot when he was sick. I saw him in the coop, he was bloated, looked dead.
The three friends found themselves smoking pot. They hung around the Gartenstadt shopping center on Saturdays and Sundays. They smoked marijuana, at first only a little, then, they say, up to 18 joints a day. New friends joined them, younger and older ones, also a few girls. "Someone said I had something new. We tried Xanax."
The sedative Xanax has become so important to Timo that he usually carries it with him. "The idea of not having access to the tablets is unbearable," he says. In order for him to feel the anxiolytic effect, however, he must constantly increase the dose. He usually starts with two tablets and a beer on Saturday evening. Over the course of a night, as many tablets are added as he has laid himself out. Sometimes five, sometimes eight. This is a multiple of the recommended dose for adults on prescription medication, such as those with anxiety disorders. "When you're on Xans, you take them like Tic Tacs," says Timo. The majority of its consumption is limited to the weekend. But the "pulling" increases, the desire for the pills. "I always want to consume, on Sunday, Monday, in the morning, in the evening." If it is too tight, Timo looks at the tablets - and sets them aside. He says: "My will is strong enough."