The youngest I have seen with my own two eyes are 12 years old, said Hans Erik Skei, manager at Nadheim, the café for drug addicts at Plate in Oslo, operated by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA). If you are young and without a settled background it is easy to get mix up in an environment with older people. Youth in Oslo dont have many places to hang out.
Come in the summer
Skei said that there is a never ending flow of young people coming to the largest meeting place for drug addicts in Oslo. Some of the addicts chase the youngest away, while others sell them drugs. The numbers especially increase during the summer.
Oslo is like a magnet in the summer, Skei said. Everyone comes to Oslo in the summer. It is not only Plata which attract new people, but also places like Eika at Akerselva.
Surveillance the environment
The police want to expel the drug environment at Eika. The Plata area is under constant surveillance by the police.
The pictures TV 2 Nettavisen have been permitted to publish picture girls as young as 14 years old who are contacting the drug environment. They were most likely there to buy drugs.
The crime statistics from Oslo police district indicate that the police arrested 537 young people at Plata last year.
Together with social services, we have focused on this group to prevent new recruitment, said Anstein Gjengdal, police chief in Oslo police district. We contact their parents and drive the children home.
The police in Oslo leave the hard core drug addicts alone, and they focus in stead on the young people who are entering the environment. In 2003, the police registered 6,871 reports on narcotics crimes, a decrease of 15.8 percent from 2002.
The exception is the very serious narcotics crimes, which have had a reported increase of 50 percent. This is not accidental as the police have changed their focus from the hard core drug addicts to the large drug suppliers.