Cyprus Mail

Sweeping changes in fight against drugs

President Nicos Anastasiades meeting with drugs committee on Wednesday

By Jean Christou

THE GOVERNMENT on Wednesday announced a slew of measures to combat drug use including extra cash, a programme for drug replacement therapy in Paphos and Famagusta and the launch of the scheme to keep addicts out of prison.

The measures, which also address smoking-related issues, were announced after a meeting between President Nicos Anastasaides and the National Committee on Drugs.

They include an additional € 190,000 for the Anti-Drugs Council, the launch of the ‘Shift 360°’ programme from next month where addicts will receive therapy instead of jail when they offend.

Drug replacement therapy programmes will be launched in October in Paphos and Famagusta.

In addition, the health unit of the national guard plus government departments dealing with counselling are to receive additional funding by the end of September.

By the end of October the health ministry must submit to the cabinet in collaboration with the ministries of justice, labour and the Anti-Drugs Council a plan for the multidisciplinary management of issues relating to drug addicts who are minors. They must also submit a plan for prevention, training and education by the same deadline.

With regard to smoking, the plans also include instructions to come up with ideas on how to combat indoor smoking, in consultation with the justice ministry, the health ministry and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

Authorities must also submit by the end of November proposals on how to amend the smoking law to ban the habit outdoors in school yards in cooperation with the education ministry.

Stricter enforcement on the supply of alcohol to those under 17 is also on the cards as are regulations relating to the registration of users of pre-paid phone cards to cut down on criminality. The palace statement also called on the House to push forward with the Narcotest law.

The Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary and Non Governmental Organisations, in cooperation with the ministry of public works has been tasked with finding a suitable building to house a rehab centre by the end of 2015.

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