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Nine per cent of school age teens use cannabis

Some nine per cent of young people aged 14 to 18 use cannabis, and one in five of these do so daily, the House legal affairs committee heard on Wednesday.

The figures were presented during a discussion on drug trafficking and use by young people and minors at the suggestion of Disy MP Fotini Tsiridou who told reporters that figures submitted by the police anti-narcotics squad (Ykan) show an 84 per cent increase in cannabis seizures in one year. Similar figures were given for cocaine, she added.

MPs were also informed that in the past year, there were 60 cases of teens aged 14 to 18 involved with drug dealing.

The Disy MP said about 1,000 people are arrested on drugs charges annually, raising fears about the extent of drug use and trafficking in Cyprus.

As the issue was a complex one, Tsiridou said she had brought the issue to the committee to identify gaps. MPs can then take legislative action so that police and authorities have the legal framework to better do their work.

“We need to look at a comprehensive solution and we will in future sessions be looking at figures as regards suppression, punishment and the issue of prevention,” she said.

MPs would first study the figures given to them by Ykan and the Cyprus National Addictions Authority and consider what proposals can be made.

“The Cyprus National Addictions Authority have assured us that tests are carried out on urban sewage four times a year, and these are scientifically checked for concentrations of drugs, and it appears that compared to Europe, Cyprus does not have the surge we all have in mind given the seizures and arrests,” she said.

Her understanding was that comparing the data from Cyprus National Addictions Authority with the arrests and seizures, it appears that police and the anti-narcotics unit are doing an excellent job, she added.

Diko MP Panicos Leonidas said that it appeared at first glance the problem of dealing by young people was regrettably much larger and called for an immediate re-evaluation of drug use so as to better address the issue.

 

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