Drug overdose accounted for 16 deaths in Cyprus in 2017, more than those recorded in previous years, the national addictions authority said on Friday in view of the international overdose awareness day on August 31.
Citing figures from the 2019 report of the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction (Emcdda), which traces EU-wide deaths due to drug use for the year 2017, the national addictions authority said that in Cyprus, the majority of deaths from overdoses were recorded in the 25-29 age group, while eight in 10 deaths were males.
Cannabis remains the most commonly used illicit drug among the general population in Cyprus, with approximately one in 10 adults aged 15-64 years reporting cannabis use at least once during their lifetime, the Emcdda report noted.
Nicosia and Limassol participate in the Europe-wide annual wastewater campaigns undertaken by the Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe (SCORE), which provides data on drug use at a municipal level, based on the levels of illicit drugs and their metabolites found in in wastewater.
An increasing trend was observed for the period 2013-2018 for levels of amphetamine, methamphetamine and MDMA/ecstasy, the report added.
In the EU as a whole, a total of 8,200 deaths were recorded in 2017 due to the use of one or multiple narcotic substances. Of those, four in five were male and eight to night deaths out of 10 involved opioid drugs, such as heroin. The report showed that the majority of deaths involved young people between the ages of 30 and 40.
The local addictions authority said it is coordinating a large-scale intervention for the provision of Naloxone in the form of a nasal spray to opioid users who participate in rehabilitation programmes. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids, especially decreased breathing in overdose situations.