NEWS

Two-thirds of deaths are not in cities

A few days ago, Ptolemaida’s neighboring town of Grevena became the second town to acquire a citizens’ association against drugs. A senior police official in northern Greece, with 20 years of experience in the fight against the narcotics trade, told Kathimerni that drug dealing in central Macedonia has more than doubled in comparison with the previous decade. «The difference is enormous. Heroin destroys bodies; cocaine destroys minds,» he said, claiming that methadone programs only perpetuate the problem. He believes that the only defenses against drugs for young people are employment prospects. Towns, such as Veria, Katerini and Serres and the seaside towns in Halkidiki during summer, are, after Thessaloniki, the top markets for drug dealers. In recent years, there has also been a market in smaller towns in the prefectures of Imathia and Serres. These trends are confirmed by data from the National Center for Documentation and Information on Drugs. Of all drug deaths nationwide, the provinces accounted for 39.2 percent in 2001, while in 2006 this figure had jumped to 61.8 percent.