Tackling drug abuse among youth in the army is a top priority Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou told a public forum yesterday.
The Minister said a series of preventative measures have already been taken by National Guard in tackling the issue of drug use among the high risk group between the ages of 18 and 25.
“These include raising awareness among soldiers of the consequences of drug use,” said Fotiou a day after it was revealed that 12% of conscripts take drugs.
“Also, the introduction of regular checks and controls to locate users and suppliers carried out by the National Guard in collaboration with the Anti-Drugs unit (YKAN). The aim is combating this worrying issue with zero tolerance,” said Fotis Fotiou.
When drug use is located in the army, all the relevant authorities are notified so that those involved can be treated, either by the army’s psychological support services or by non-governmental treatment services.
The Defence Ministry has also signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Cyprus Anti-Drugs Council.
“With the signing of the memorandum, key services join the fight against substance abuse such as the Education Ministry, the Cyprus Youth Organisation, YKAN, KENTHEA and local universities. As a result, our prevention programmes are enriched and our psychological support service strengthened,” said the Minister.
He added that a study has been conducted in collaboration with the Cyprus Anti-Drugs Council to examine the true dimension of the issue of drug abuse in the army and the results will be announced soon.