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Minister reveals startling quadrupling of cocaine users in two decades

Explosive surge in cocaine use raises alarms and poses serious public health issues

Source: CNA

The Minister of Justice and Public Order, Anna Koukkides Procopiou, revealed a significant rise in cocaine use in Cyprus, with the number of users estimated to have quadrupled in the past two decades. She addressed this concerning trend during a workshop titled "Illegal Stimulants - Persistent and Emerging Trends," organized by the Police and the Drug Law Enforcement Unit (YKAN) at the University of Cyprus.

Minister Procopiou expressed serious concerns about the challenges stemming from stimulant drug consumption, emphasizing the impact of recent global socio-economic changes on mental health and social problems. She noted that the broad availability, affordability, and combined use of these substances are associated with behaviors carrying serious health risks, including overdoses, acute mental health issues, and infectious diseases.

The Minister highlighted that the high availability of cocaine, illustrated by the seizure of 303 tonnes in major European ports and illegal production within the EU, poses a significant threat to society, orchestrated by organized crime groups. The Ministry of Justice is committed to addressing these challenges through cooperation with relevant ministries, focusing on reducing demand, harm, and combating drug-related crimes.

Minister Procopiou also emphasized that illegal activities, including drug trafficking, are of great concern to the European Union, as the profits from such activities can fund terrorist acts. This matter is regularly discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council of Ministers.

The Chief of Police, Stelios Papatheodorou, reported a significant increase in illegal substance seizures this year, highlighting the seizure of 500 kilos of new synthetic stimulant substances. He stressed the growing concern over stimulants.

The head of YKAN, Stelios Aristidou, explained that YKAN operates in two areas: supply reduction and demand reduction, both of which are interconnected. The workshop featured presentations by experts on emerging drug use trends in Cyprus, organized crime, stimulant trafficking, new challenges, and legislative implementation.

[Information sourced from CNA]

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