Cyprus Mail

Cyprus investing in social policies to battle drug addiction, health ministry says

The health ministry said on Sunday that Cyprus was investing a social policy to address addiction to narcotics, in a message to mark World Day Against Drugs and Drug Trafficking.

The social policy was being based on EU standards “so that we can all feel that scientifically proven steps have been taken towards a society that is as well protected as possible from substance abuse,” the ministry said.

June 26 was established as the World Day against Drugs in order to raise public awareness of the effects of drug use on public health and society at large.

“Today, more than ever, after unprecedented health and humanitarian challenges that have shaken the social fabric, the WHO, in its message this year, highlights the need to tackle the scourge of substance abuse,” the ministry said.

“Addictions are a problem of individual and public health, with multilevel effects on wider society. It is particularly important, in the current context of multiple crises, that the issues of support for people with substance abuse problems remain at the centre of our focus.”

The ministry said it was committed to creating an environment that supports everyone who need help with drug addition, whatever the circumstance.

In a separate message, the president of the Addiction Treatment Authority, Dr Christos Minas said dealing with addiction requires a multi-themed, balanced and integrated policy, and cooperation.

Minas said the production of synthetic addictive substances was increasing in Europe and that supply and use indicators are beginning to show that addiction numbers were moving back to pre-pandemic levels.

In 2021, 52 new psychoactive substances were identified, bringing the total number of psychoactive substances monitored by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction to 880. An estimated 5,800 deaths related to substance abuse occurred in the EU.

“At our centre, we prioritize the security of citizens and the safeguarding of human rights as well as the fight against social stigma so as to reinforce the philosophy that use and dependence is not a problem of crime but of public health,” the statement said.

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