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12° Nicosia,
23 May, 2024
 
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Drug enforcement cops send 420 youths to rehab

Justice Minister's revelations trigger discussion on drug use, police presence, and juvenile delinquency

Ioanna Kyriakou

Between 2021 and 2024, YKAN, Cyprus' drug enforcement agency, facilitated rehabilitation treatment programs for 420 young individuals, the majority of whom were students. Justice Minister Marios Hartsiotis disclosed this information today during a meeting of the Parliament's Education Committee, which focused on delinquency and criminal acts in schools, as well as the lack of support for victims and perpetrators.

Concerning drug trafficking and use in schools, Minister Hartsiotis stressed that YKAN had assessed the situation but admitted that better results could be achieved through enhanced cooperation with relevant services.

Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou mentioned the consideration of increased coordination with school principals on the matter. However, he expressed opposition to police presence within schools, citing statistics indicating that in 2021, the police handled 496 cases of minor misconduct (not solely in school settings), with 393 cases reported in 2023.

Regarding the detention facilities for minors, Minister Hartsiotis explained the current provision allowing detention at the Central Prison until 2026. Subsequently, alternative facilities with private company custodians would be established. Concerns over the operational regulations of these facilities were addressed, with plans for clarification in a forthcoming meeting.

Athena Michaelidou of the Ministry of Education highlighted the development of an alternative attendance program targeting offending behavior, with plans for submission to the Legal Service in the near future.

In response to juvenile delinquency, a spokesperson from the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare reported 250 cases addressed in 2023. However, lawmakers criticized the inadequacy of mental health resources, noting the ratio of one psychologist per 1500-1800 children.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  students  |  drugs  |  schools

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