Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jun 2004
Source: Cyprus Mail, The (Cyprus)
Copyright: Cyprus Mail 2004
Author: Alexia Saoulli
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The government has decided to go ahead and implement a four-year
National Strategy Plan on drugs. Among measures under consideration
are plans to give out free syringes to long-term drug users, Health
Minister Dina Akkelidou said yesterday.

The plan will cover the period 2004-2008 and is aimed at dealing with
the root of the growing hard drugs problem. The report was drawn up
following Justice and Health House committee deliberations on drug
trafficking and use, as well as ways to deal with the problem.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Akkelidou said: "Among other
things we are discussing are a number of reduction of harm measures to
help long-term drug users who have been unable to become clean. One of
these measures is to give out free syringes as is done in other
countries. But nothing is definite and we are still discussing what
methods to use as part of the strategy over the next four years."

Akkelidou said other measures would include mobile laboratories for
testing, the importation of competitive medicinal products, access to
free laboratory testing for sexual transmitted diseases, international
co-operation with other organisation, as well as the use of the media
to highlight the problem and its dangers.

The Health Minister said the main plan of action would involve
reducing the availability of drugs, which would be done in
collaboration with police.

The National Strategy on Drugs is part of a twinning programme of the
Cyprus government and the European Union, which was signed on
September 22 last year and inspired by the Spanish National Strategy
on Drugs, following the persistent co-operation and commitment of both
Spanish and Cypriot experts.

The local strategy plan will focus on eight social areas including
schools, the family, the army and working environments, in an attempt
to clamp down on supply and demand.
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