NEWS

Homeless drug addicts doubled during crisis

The number of drug addicts living on the streets of the capital has doubled since the beginning of the country’s economic crisis, according to research by the Therapy Center for Dependent Individuals (KETHEA).

Of the addicts approached by members of KETHEA’s street team, 44.4 percent said they were homeless, up from 35.2 percent last year and 24.5 percent in 2010.

The standard of living of those who do have a roof over their heads has deteriorated too, however, with four in 10 addicts telling aid workers that their homes lacked electricity and running water.

Six out of 10 of those questioned said they had no means of regular income while six in 10 of the female drug addicts approached admitted to selling sexual services to finance their habit and to make ends meet.

Virtually all the drug addicts questioned by KETHEA’s street team said they had health problems and limited or no access to public healthcare. Four in 10 said they lacked health insurance, one in 10 claimed to be HIV positive and three in 10 suffer from hepatitis. There are fears that the proportion of drug addicts affected by these and other diseases is much higher than KETHEA’s research indicated as many have not undergone medical tests recently or indeed ever.

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