By Angelos Anastasiou
As much as three per cent of the general population in Cyprus may be addicted to alcohol, a survey by the Cyprus Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, released on Wednesday, has found.
The survey gathered data from eight alcohol-addiction rehabilitation centres across Cyprus for 2013, which showed that 347 individuals, down from 377 in 2012, sought treatment, of whom seven in ten were men.
A vast majority of those who sought help in getting over their addiction were over 40 years of age – 227 of 347 – while two individuals aged 19 or younger were also identified.
Approximately eight in ten were Cypriots, with EU citizens comprising 12 per cent of the sample and third-country nationals five per cent.
While half reported living with their parents – including one 69-year-old addict – one in three had a spouse and children. The report suggested that these findings may stem from a Cypriot cultural particularity that allows children to remain in the family home even after they enter adulthood, or from empirical evidence linking alcohol abuse to difficulties establishing independent permanent residence.
More than four in ten alcohol addicts reported having received only primary education.
About six in ten of respondents said they were either jobless or underemployed, with only one in three in full-time employment. This, the study reported, was in line with earlier research findings suggesting a higher likelihood for alcoholism among the unemployed.
The median period of abuse before individuals seek treatment for alcohol abuse was found to be 10 years.
According to World Health Organisation estimates, 9.2 per cent of deaths are somehow related to alcohol abuse, placing alcohol as one of the “major risk factors in Europe.”
With regard to alcohol-related traffic deaths, an average of 25 deaths annually over recent years was dramatically cut to 7 in 2013, but recent police reports suggest this has increased in 2014.
Further, from 2004 to 2006, 449 deaths were attributed to alcohol abuse. Specifically, 309 deaths were owed to alcoholic hepatopathy, 61 were due to poisoning indirectly linked to alcohol, and 79 were deemed the result of alcohol-induced physical violence.
And although an estimated 10 per cent of the populace has gotten drunk over the last 12 months, with 3 per cent being addicted to alcohol, in terms of general perceptions towards alcohol Cypriots were found willing to support restrictive policies, including more stringent traffic measures.