Cannabis remains the most commonly used illicit drug among the general population in Cyprus. According to the 2016 general population study, approximately 1 in 10 adults aged 15-64 had used cannabis at least once during their lifetime, which is a slightly higher proportion than in 2014. Cannabis use remains concentrated among young adults aged 15-34 years. The long-term analysis indicates some decrease in last-year cannabis prevalence among these groups since 2009, with possible stabilisation in the most recent years. Use of other illicit substances is less common.
A strong link between gender and illicit drug use is reported, with males having higher prevalence rates for all drugs. The mean age at cannabis experimentation is 18-20 years, which coincides with an obligatory enrolment to and release from the National Guard service for males. Use of new psychoactive substances is also concentrated among 15- to 34-year-olds, with synthetic cannabinoids being the most popular substances reported.
Nicosia and Limassol participate in the Europe-wide annual wastewater campaigns undertaken by the Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe (SCORE). This study provides data on drug use at a community level, based on the levels of different illicit drugs and their metabolites in sources of wastewater. The traces of cocaine detected in wastewater indicate that cocaine use is at a relatively low level; nevertheless, an increasing trend was observed for the period 2013-16. In 2016, amphetamines and MDMA/ ecstasy levels detected in both cities were low, indicating limited use of these substances.
Estimates of last-year cannabis use among young adults (15-34 years) in Cyprus
NBEstimated last-year prevalence of drug use in 2016.
Substance use among 15- to 16-year-old school students in Cyprus
NBESPAD study 2015.
Drug use among students is reported from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) study, which has been conducted regularly in Cyprus since 1995 among 15- to 16-year-olds (in the governmentcontrolled areas).
In the 2015 ESPAD study, Cypriot students reported substance use prevalence rates of approximately the same magnitude as the ESPAD average (35 countries) for five of the eight key variables studied. Lifetime cannabis use in Cyprus was below the average and has remained at the level of 2011.
In 2015, it was estimated that there were 1 161 highrisk opioid users in Cyprus
Studies reporting estimates of high-risk use can help to identify the extent of the more entrenched drug use problems, while data on first-time entrants to specialised drug treatment services, when considered alongside other indicators, can inform understanding on the nature and trends in high-risk drug use.
In 2015, it was estimated that there were 1 161 high-risk opioid users in Cyprus, of whom fewer than one in six injected the substance. Since 2014, high-risk methamphetamine use has also been reported in Cyprus.
Data from specialised treatment centres indicate an overall decline since 2007 in primary heroin-using clients entering treatment for the first time. In recent years, an increasing number of clients have sought treatment for use of opioids other than heroin (in particular oxycodone). First-time clients using heroin tend to be older than those seeking care because of primary use of other illicit substances. Although injecting remains common among opioid users entering treatment, a downward trend in this practice has been observed in recent years.
The data on clients entering treatment system suggest an increase in treatment demands for primary use of methamphetamine in recent years (see Treatment section). Data on the proportion of cannabis users entering treatment for the first time indicate an upward trend since 2008. This is mainly attributed to the implementation of the Protocol of Cooperation for the Referral of Young Offenders. In 2015, most treatment clients were male; however, the proportion of females in treatment varied considerably by primary type of drug used and by treatment programme.
National estimates of last year prevalence of high-risk opioid use
NBYear of data 2015, or latest available year.
Characteristics and trends of drug users entering specialised drug treatment in Cyprus
NB Year of data 2015. Data is for first-time entrants, except for gender which is for all treatment entrants.