OKANA chief?s resignation rejected

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos on Friday turned down an offer by the president of the Organization Against Drugs (OKANA), Mena Malliori, to resign following staff claims of ?dangerous? rehabilitation policies.

Malliori offered Loverdos her resignation after OKANA?s employees? union issued a statement, condemning as ?dangerous? the policies being pursued by the ministry and OKANA? management for the rehabilitation of drug users registered with the organization and the treatment of users? families.

Recently the ministry said that it would close OKANA units that are not located on the premises of state hospitals and that it would give hospitals, and possibly also some pharmacies, the remit to dispense methadone. The government has said that OKANA units in the city center will be relocated as their presence is believed to have encouraged, at least in part, the widespread use of drugs and a brisk trade in various narcotics, and even in methadone, by criminal rackets.