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Hard drug use declined during pandemic – report

nightclubs
MDMA consumption dropped in Limassol in 2020 due to the drop in nightlife

Limassol, along with Ayia Napa, is one of the main centres of hard drug use in Cyprus according to an EU drug monitoring unit report, although it saw a marked decline during the height of pandemic.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction uses findings from the monitoring of the composition of urban wastewater which has become a very useful tool for assessing the prevalence of illicit drug use and pathogenic organisms such as Covid-19 in the population of 75 cities across Europe.

Its latest report for 2021 showed that Limassol led the way in cocaine consumption in Cyprus for 2019 and 2020, recording (in mg/1000p/day) 272.39 in 2019 and sharply declining at 43.9 in 2020. In 2021 however, the load spread across the island with Ayia Napa leading with a record of 124.21 and Limassol second with 73.6, a much lower figure compared to 2019.

Cocaine appears to be the most consumed hard drug on the island, while across Europe, over half of the cities recorded increases in cocaine residues compared to 2020. Antwerp has been steadily leading Europe in the past three years, recording 1581.88 for 2021.

MDMA consumption pattern in Cyprus for 2019 and 2020, again shows Limassol top of the list recording 13.6 and 2.5 respectively, the latter figure reflecting the halt in nightlife. In 2021 however, the popular clubbing destination Ayia Napa had the highest daily consumption recording 28.3, followed by Limassol 3.6mg/day, Nicosia 3.3, Paphos 1.8 and Larnaca 1.2. The city with the highest daily consumption for 2021 is Amsterdam with a record of 125 and Larnaca the lowest at 1.2.

Cannabis consumption is stable and at high levels and is more potent than ever, recording average THC concentrations between 20-28 per cent. For 2021 Barcelona is the ‘high capital’ of Europe with a record of 455.92 mg/1000p/day outstripping Amsterdam’s annual record of 157.6 by far.

Regarding Cyprus, there are no available data on cannabis quantities consumed. There are however data on the drug’s prevalence within the population for 2019 and show lifetime prevalence for adults (15-64) at 14.1 per cent, prevalence in the last 12 months for young adults (15-34) at 8.1 per cent and lifetime prevalence for students (15-16) at 8 per cent. Further, data on entrants into treatment show that in 2019 there were 354 first time entrants and 125 previously treated entrants.

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