Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis says people addicted to drugs and alcohol ought not to be seen as lawbreakers but people who need treatment.
During a visit to two detoxification centres in Latchia, Nicosia district, Yiolitis said “drugs and alcoholism are one of the most important, complicated, and multifaceted issues in today’s modern societies.”
The minister was accompanied by the Director of Cyprus Prisons Department Anna Aristotelous, a known advocate for community or non-custodial sentencing for petty offenders
Upgraded facilities last year changed the landscape in drug addiction treatments in Cyprus, where underage youths who abuse drugs previously had place to get proper treatment until they turned 18.
The recently-appointed minister said the police drug squad (YKAN) is the main agency that refers patients to detox centres, while she also noted that the cooperation of many other agencies was crucial.
Yiolitis said cooperation between agencies was instrumental in the effort to reduce the supply and demand of illicit drugs, promote detox treatment, remove the social stigma associated with young addicts as well as help their reintegration into society.
“People who use drugs are now treated as individuals in need of help and not mere violators of the law,” Yiolitis said.
The minister was accompanied by the Director of Cyprus Prisons Department Anna Aristotelous, a known advocate for community or non-custodial sentencing for petty offenders.
Aristotelous previously said 2020 was the year for legislating and implementing alternative sentencing, citing both mutual benefits for offenders and society and large as well as solving the problem of prison overcrowding.