Cyprus Mail

Rehab plans for young drivers who fail narcotests

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou (right) meeting with Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou and other officials on Wednesday

Young drivers found to have been under the influence of drugs when behind the wheel will be able to opt for rehab instead of serving a sentence, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou announced on Tuesday.

The protocol to implement the measure will be ready in 10 days.

Nicolaou was speaking after a meeting with Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, chairman of the national authority on addictions Chrysanthos Georgiou and police officers.

Specifically, drivers below the age of 24 would be able to go for rehab and not have their case taken to court.

Drivers between the age of 25 and 40 will be able to undergo therapy and present it to court as a mitigating factor.

Nicolaou said figures showed most drivers who had taken drugs were young, and this was a matter of concern.

A total of 91.9 per cent of drivers who were found to have been driving under the influence of drugs were between the ages of 15 to 39.

The figures stem from 104 narcotests carried out between January 25 and April 2.

Of those, 70 were positive, and confirmed to be illegal drugs after tests at the state lab.

Thirty-three of those, or 45.95 per cent, were aged between 15 to 24 and the same number of drivers who tested positive for drugs were aged 25 to 39.

Of the 70 drug positive drivers, 68 were men and two were women.

The figures reveal a rehab progamme is necessary, Nicolaou said.

He added the protocols would be ready in 10 days and would be discussed again in two months to evaluate the results.

Georgiou said this was a step in the right direction and the possibility of implementing the strategy for drunk drivers should also be considered.

Narcotests were rolled out in Cyprus on January 15 this year.

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