Broken Romania: slot machines, electronic cigarettes and drugs have invaded schools. What Iohannis got instead of Educated Romania
The entire Romania looks like an out-of-control Las Vegas: thousands of slot halls and casinos, huge ads for electronic cigarettes and casinos with half-dressed girls, drugs in almost every high school. These three vices are tolerated or even encouraged by the PSD-PNL coalition, under the uncaring eye of President Iohannis. And the main victims are young people, as the statistics show. Educated Romania has turned into Depraved Romania.
The drug phenomenon, teenage smoking, and gambling addiction are out of control. The reasons are simple: false advertising in the case of gambling and e-cigarettes, poor police and prosecutors’ response to drugs.
- And the culprits are known and must be pointed out: the PSD-PNL-UDMR coalition, headed by Klaus Iohannis. Here is the proof.
June 2020. A bill that would have de facto banned the advertising of electronic cigarettes and the famous heated tobacco smoking devices was rejected by the PSD-PNL-UDMR majority, although liberal and socialist MPs were among the initiators. The smoking industry’s lobbying was so strong that the rejection report of the culture committee was so misleading: without cigarette advertisements, Romanian culture will die.
The effect of the vote? More than 50% of high school students have smoked e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products in the past 30 days, says a report by the National Institute of Public Health, a government body.
E-cigarette ads and smoking gadgets are choking major city centers, the internet and large youth events. Everywhere there are high school students, college students, teenagers in general. Electronic gadgets, as death-dealing as „classic” cigarettes, are presented in ads as cool accessories.
Smoking with these beautifully coloured gadgets starts in elementary school. The phenomenon is so widespread that the INSP has launched an anti-smoking campaign.
(An extraordinary arrogance in the vote in Parliament. Szabó Ödön, representing the UDMR, invited to the Chamber of Deputies to explain his faction’s vote, completely ignored the life-and-death issue and took the liberty of asking USR MEP Emanuel Ungureanu, the initiator of the bill, to wear a jacket. This is what the transcript of the meeting shows. The dress code was more important to the RMDSZ MEP than the lives of hundreds of thousands of teenagers.)
February 2023. A bill by PNL MP Adrian Cozma that would have completely banned betting and gambling advertisements was mutilated by his own party colleague, Alina Gorghiu, PNL vice-president and interim Senate president. At the same time, other USR projects to reduce the ubiquitous advertising of betting and slot machines or to eliminate betting shops near schools were either rejected or postponed by the PSD-PNL-UDMR coalition.
Ironically, as with smoking, those who mutilated the original draft took the view of the powerful betting lobby.
„The total elimination of audiovisual commercial communication forms for gambling activities, including those carried out by companies licensed under Romanian law and supervised by the Romanian authorities, would have a significant negative impact on the Romanian state’s efforts to ensure the protection of Romanian gamblers and to create a safe environment for the conduct of these activities”, says Alina Gorghiu’s motivation.
The effect of the vote? Alina Gorghiu herself, who played the casinos’ score, asked for the removal of a huge banner advertising slot machines outside Parliament because many children come to visit.
Bucharest has been filled with huge billboards showing young girls photographed in vulgar poses promoting slot machines. Gambling halls and sports betting shops have just as many pawnshops next to them. The G4Media reporter counted more than 60 gambling halls, betting shops and pawn shops on Calea Moșilor alone.
Television, online publications and the internet in general are filled to saturation with slot machine ads. Sports is infested: every stadium, hall, club, gaming equipment, TV broadcast is actually a medium for gambling ads.
The effect is particularly devastating among teenagers. „Advertisements are particularly effective in attracting teenagers. Teenage brains work differently from adult brains. They are more attracted to risk and immediate gain and tend not to calculate risks accurately. Also, the risks of gambling addiction increase greatly if gambling starts earlier than 16-18 years”, Eugen Hriscu, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist specializing in addiction treatment, told G4Media.
The more advertising, the more money and influence for betting companies. They have started to get close to politicians. The charitable foundation of Mihaela Geoană, wife of possible presidential candidate Mircea Geoană and the driving force behind the politician’s rise, has partnered with the Superbet Foundation. Of course support for a noble cause, the prevention of breast and cervical cancer, is to be applauded, there is no dilemma here and any funding is good. But the coincidence of the politician’s family remains.
The drug phenomenon in schools has taken on unprecedented proportions. More and more cases of drug trafficking networks in schools and high schools have been uncovered, especially in the capital. G4Media sources say the phenomenon is out of control, and drug addiction is affecting pupils to members of the elite.
The National Drug Situation Report 2022, produced by the National Anti-Drug Agency, shows that „adolescence is the period with the highest vulnerability to initiating drug use, with the lowest age of onset reported for the use of new psychoactive substances (13 years)”.
The phenomenon can even be seen in the centre of Bucharest, where several terrace owners say that various individuals are selling narcotics even in the middle of the day. Although they have made countless complaints to the police, the suspects don’t seem bothered by anyone.
All this under the helpless eyes of the police led by Lucian Bode (too busy buying BMWs from President Iohannis’ friend) and the DIICOT prosecutors, led for a while by a chief prosecutor rejected by the Supreme Council of Magistrates.
What’s more, in September 2022 the head of the National Anti-Drug Agency gave a proof of gross incompetence by freezing in front of simple questions about the drug phenomenon. Cristian Georgel Ivan implied that he was not aware of the work of the institution or that he was afraid to reveal real information in order not to upset the „bigwigs of the system”.
To recap: initiatives that would have reduced the harmful influence of cigarettes and gambling on young people were destroyed by the PSD-PNL-UDMR coalition. The same coalition completely ignored the drugs issue and installed an imposter in a key office unable to articulate a coherent sentence about his work.
Have you seen President Iohannis concerned with any of the above issues? Have you seen him initiate a national project, call the coalition to order on the disaster in society? You haven’t seen him because he has no respect for the public interest. He has made a keystone of his „Educated Romania” project just to leave a trail behind him. That didn’t work for him either because the project is catastrophic and the teachers are in front of the Cotroceni demanding his resignation.
Instead of an educated Romania, the president, helped by the anti-reformist PSD-PNL-UDMR coalition, is leaving behind a corrupt and deeply flawed Romania.
These vices don’t only affect the Romania they don’t care about, the politicians in power. But also the children of these political leaders. Don’t you think for a moment about your own family? About the fact that an overdose can kidnap your teenage child, about the danger of the terrible addiction to gambling, about the cancer that beautiful tobacco packed in a glossy box can cause? Take a step away from lobbyist money and party orders and do something for the public good. Or at least for you and your children sake.
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