The state encourages drug use in Van

Drug use among young people in Van province has recently increased. Drug dealers, including government officials, sell drugs especially in neighbourhoods where earthquake housings are located.

The city of Van has a population of almost 1 million 500 thousand. Although the city has young population with an average age of 22, 85 percent of the young people are unemployed. The economic crisis, poverty, unemployment, anxiety about the future and hopelessness in Turkey lead young people to use drugs.

According to official data, there are approximately 15 thousand drug addicts in the city, which keeps increasing. However, the real numbers are much higher. It is predicted that the number of drug addicts in the city is over 30 thousand.


Another reason for the increase in drug addiction is the tolerance of state officials. There are dozens of military and police stations in almost every village, neighbourhood and city centres in Van and its surrounding provinces. However, drug dealing and use is increasing in the city where there are a large number of military and police forces. The only reason for this is the state forces' encouragement or connivance to drug selling. Currently, drug dealers and some state forces are jointly selling drugs in the city. These forces specifically target young people.


Drug selling and its use is increasing in poor districts and neighbourhoods. Apart from Çaldıran and Başkale districts, drug use is increasing in Erciş district, in the neighbourhoods where earthquake housing are located, and Yeşilova (Suli) which is known for their patriotic stance. It is also reported that drug use is increasing in the centre and neighbourhoods of Van and in places where earthquake housings are located. Drugs are sold openly, especially on the streets and in the neighbourhoods and the state forces remain silent towards it.


Families, especially those living in earthquake housings and poor and patriotic neighbourhoods are worried. Families reveal that young people buy and use drugs, especially in the evening hours and at night. Families say that all the people in the neighbourhood knew about this situation, and it was not possible for state officials not to know, adding that they tolerate drug selling and its use by young people.

On January 5, 2022, 2 young people died of overdose in a hotel in the İpekyolu district of Van.