Cyprus Mail

Moves to improve drug addicts’ access to health services

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou

Drug addicts should have equal rights with patients in terms of access to therapy and other health services to help them rehabilitate, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou has said.

Speaking after a meeting with the board of the NGO Kenthea, which aims to help addicts recover, he said there would be a discussion with the health ministry surrounding legislation on making psychological support mandatory for addicts who were not in a position to make decisions for themselves.

Kenthea’s board on Friday handed the minister a study of the rights drug addicts have when it comes to therapy in Cyprus based on texts such as the European social charter, the UN convention on rights of the child and studies by the World Health Organisation.

Nicolaou said it was important the psychiatric services didn’t intervene in a one off extreme case but regularly offered psychological support to drug addicts.

During the meeting, the practice of mandatory admission to hospital was also discussed for people who put their own life in danger and those of others due to their drug abuse, as is done in other countries.

“This is an important matter, as addicts under such serious circumstances cannot help themselves and the possibility of introducing them to programmes aimed to help them control themselves should be considered,” the minister said.

The documents will be passed on to the health ministry for further discussion, Nicolaou said while hailing a new pilot programme by Kenthea aimed at supporting people whose jail time is coming to an end and need help to smoothly re-enter normal life and find a job.


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