Cyprus Mail

Cannabis used at least once by 10pct of Cypriots

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Around 10 per cent of the general population in Cyprus has used cannabis at least once, it emerged on Friday, though Cyprus ranked low in the use of the drug when compared with other countries.

According to a report published by the Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EKTPN), there were 13 drugs-related deaths in Cyprus in 2013 – three were caused by overdose.

Most of the rest died in traffic accidents and drugs were found in their systems later.

According to a report, 10 per cent of the population has used cannabis at least once in their life with the rate rising between the ages of 15 and 34 – 14.5 per cent.

Using 2013 data, the report said one in five Europeans said they used cannabis in the past year compared with 3.0 per cent of Cypriots.

The report notes the decline in the number of heroin addicts seeking treatment and the rise in requests – 2009 onwards — from people mainly using cannabis.

EKTPN said the reduction in heroin users was a European phenomenon while the rise in treatment requests for cannabis was mainly due to the implementation of a protocol to refer young offenders – up to 24 – and police policy to refer all users irrespective of age.

The centre said 1,092 users sough help in 2013, compared with 1,132 the previous year. The profile of these users was male, 27, Greek Cypriot, cannabis user for nine years. Four out of 10 users were unemployed and 35 per cent had not completed compulsory education – up to age 15.

The report said 39 intravenous drug users, out of 82 checked, tested positive for Hepatitis C. There were also six cases of HIV, reported by the individuals but not verified by EKTPN.

Four new surveys will be carried out in 2015, two among the general population and pupils, and two focusing on new substances.

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