Over the past decade, 140 people have died from drugs since 2004, according to statistics released by the national drug centre yesterday.
Of the 287 people arrested for drug-related offences last year, 53 were school kids, 40 were students, 52 were soldiers and 78 were unemployed, said Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou.
He said the drug squad handled 410 cases of drug use of which more than half (296) were aged 18-24, while 516 people were referred for therapy.
The most prevalent drug in Cyprus in 2013 was cannabis.
Moreover, the number of incidents concerning addictive substances last year reached 1,000 involving 1,165 people – 897 were Cypriots and 268 were foreign nationals.
Nicolaou said the government had put drug prevention and rehabilitation at the top of its crime-fighting agenda.
Focus is being put on prevention by creating more drug counselling centres and upgrading options for detox schemes while also giving drug offenders the chance to undergo treatment rather than prison.
"Punishment and prisons do not treat addicts, so accelerating the process of change is a priority for us," said Nicolaou.
“The state and society have a debt to the new generation, to protect them against addictive substances.”