Cyprus Mail

Worrying increase in drivers testing positive for drugs

Police are concerned over an increasing number of drivers testing positive for drug use with 67 caught under the influence last month alone.

Alcotests are also picking up a “worrying” number of drivers over the alcohol limit, as police spokesman Christos Andreou told the Cyprus Mail that such drivers are endangering not only their own lives but everyone else on the roads.

“It’s not just other drivers that they are endangering, but everyone who is sharing the roads with them, such as cyclists and pedestrians, they must consider the impact that their actions have,” Andreou said on Tuesday.

Figures shared by Andreou with the media show that 690 drivers tested positive for drugs in 2021, while 744 were uncovered in 2020.

That’s a noticeable rise from 2019 when 575 drivers tested positive.

“The most common drug identified by the state labs is cannabis,” Andreou said.

Cocaine took second place with methamphetamines being the third most tested substance. Figures were not immediately available as to what percentage each substance accounted for and neither were the gender ratios of the drivers who tested positive.

Legislation enabling police to carry out narcotests was passed in early 2016. Drivers must give police a saliva sample for a preliminary test and, if detected positive, further samples are taken for confirmation at the state labs.

Notably, Akel at the time voted against the legislation as it said the policy was too draconian as it allows police to stop and check any driver in any circumstances, whether or not an officer has reasonable suspicion that a motorist is under the influence.

In any case, drink driving remains at high levels with 2,311 found to be over the limit from the 27,953 checks carried out in 2021, while 3,911 were caught in 2020 during 44,576. Fewer checks were carried out during that period due to the pandemic, as seen by the 7,188 drivers caught over the limit from 80,644 checks in 2019.


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