An encounter with Albania's best known drug addict

Philip M. Fleming
1995 Psychiatric bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists  
Albania borders the Adriatic Sea and lies between the former Yugoslavia to the north and Greece to the south. Seventy per cent of the land mass is mountainous, the coastal strip containing most of the country's agricultural land and having the densest population. The total population of the country is 3.4 million while the capital Tirana has a population of 250000. Until very recently Albania was rarely visited by people from the West. It had become increasingly isolated under the Stalinist
more » ... atorship of Enver Hoxha and the paranoid attitude towards foreigners that existed in the 1970s and 1980s is well illustrated by the concrete pill boxes that were built to repel invaders. More than 600 000 of these were built and they can be seen today scarring the attractive countryside of hills and fields around Tirana. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, Albania followed the same path and went through a period of disorganisation in 1991 before electing its first democratic government in 1992. As with other former communist countries private enterprise began to develop, land was sold back to the peasants, and private cars began to appear in the streets. In 1992 there were no private cars in the country; in 1995 there were 35 000 in Tirana alone.
doi:10.1192/pb.19.10.645 fatcat:2wyopd4gvfhehhjeyd245ab4zu