NEWS

Drug laws are falling short

The head of Greece’s narcotics watchdog and a member of a parliamentary committee on drugs yesterday called for a change in the country’s laws to help addicts as a United Nations report revealed an increasing number of users around the world. New Democracy MP Costas Kiltidis and the head of the Organization Against Drugs (OKANA), Constantinos Ballas, drew attention to the fact that in the wake of corruption scandals within the judiciary, judges have recently treated drug addicts severely. Kiltidis said that judges are not being as rigorous with drug dealers. Both men said that current legislation was inadequate to deal with the problem of drugs in Greece. OKANA presented the annual World Drug Report compiled by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime which revealed that some 200 million people, or 5 percent of the population aged 15-64, used illegal drugs in 2004. The 2006 report focuses particularly on the use of cannabis. The drug was used by an estimated 162 million people at least once in 2004. The UN report highlighted the fact that cannabis is more potent than it was a few decades ago and evidence that its use can cause mental illness is mounting. Ballas said that evidence suggests that use of cannabis in Greece is rising. He also noted an increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital with severe mental problems that have been caused by the use of the drug. Ballas drew attention to a section of the UN report which refers to the increased use of the Sinsemilla form of cannabis which is usually cultivated indoors and contains at least three times more psychoactive compounds (THC) than regular cannabis.