NEWS

Users getting younger, and there are more of them

Not only is drug use on the increase in Greece, but it is starting at ever younger ages. The average age at which children start to use illicit substances is now 15; while 14 percent of pupils inhale solvents (compared with the European average of 10 percent); and Greece is now fifth in the EU in terms of drug-related deaths (303 in 2000). Statistics from the annual report of the European Narcotics and Drug Addiction Center show that 84.2 percent of those who seek therapy for drug abuse in Greece are heroin users, while in Europe the percentage ranges from 22.4 (Finland) to 70 percent. While intravenous drug use is falling by an average of about 10 percent in Europe, in Greece 72.7 percent of users at therapy centers inject the drug. In Greece the majority of drug-users attending rehabilitation centers are male (84 percent), and their average age is 29.