Priit Siig, director of the Tallinn Children's Shelter, has said that more children from higher socioeconomic strata are ending up at the facility.
"Naturally there are kids who live in extreme poverty and whose parents also have dependency problems. But more and more children are ending up here from completely financially well-off families - there are problems even in such families," he told Pealinn.
Youth problems have changed in character over time, but the need for the Tallinn-based children's shelter is the same, he added. He said he expected the shelter's 48 spots to fill up by October.
"We're a municipal institution but we are getting more referrals from elsewhere in the county - Tartu, Haapsalu and around Tallinn in Harju County. We see a greater need for the service in the country at large."
There is a facility like the one in Tallinn in Jõhvi as well, but one is needed in southern and western Estonia, said Siig. He mentioned a tragic incident that occurred recently in Pärnu - one of two 13-year-olds who inhaled lighter fumes died earlier this month - as pointing up the greater need. He also said the dangers of marijuana needed to be talked about more. He acknowledged the drug had no known lethal dose, but said adolescents with personality disorders could develop full-blown mental illness as a result of cannabis use.
Fentanyl, which on the other hand is lethal and in fact grabbed international headlines earlier this year by being a key factor in Estonia's leading Europe in the death rate from drug overdoses, accounts for 10-15 percent of the cases handled by the shelter, Siig said.