NEWS

Plans to wage war against growing drug problem

Tackling the growing problem of drug abuse is a national priority, Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a joint ministerial meeting held Wednesday to discuss the National Action Plan for Drug Dependency 2002-2006. The plan focuses on prevention, starting at primary school level. Detoxification and therapy programs will get hefty support, and the role of Alcoholics Anonymous will be enhanced, now that the problem of alcohol abuse has gained recognition. Drug-related crimes will provoke severe measures; the premier said: «We want an ongoing war against drug trafficking.» There is no plan to decriminalize the use of any substances. Greece is fifth among EU countries in terms of drug-related deaths and, unlike other European countries, shows no sign of any decrease in intravenous drug use. In 2000, there was a waiting list of 2,667 addicts for rehabilitation programs, 2,474 of whom were waiting to join a drug substitute program. Flanked by lawyers, she repeated in court her account of the night of Milosevic’s arrest, testifying that she had mixed several sedatives with the cognac, and claiming she was «distraught» after seeing live television footage of the siege. The national property owners’ union also attacked yesterday’s «sarcastic» comments by Fotiadis.