EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel is paying an official visit to Cyprus today, where he is meeting with health and security officials. This is in line with the EMCDDA Strategy 2025, which aims to contribute to a healthier and more secure Europe.
The visit will include meetings with the Cypriot Health Minister, Mr Konstantinos Ioannou and with Director of Mental Health Services, Dr Anna Paradisiotou. These meetings will pay particular attention to harm reduction measures, including the provision of sterile syringes to people who inject drugs and measures to increase the uptake of HIV and hepatitis testing by users at risk from these infections.
Other issues on the agenda include the importance of surveying the prison population to obtain a picture of drug use and infection risk. Monitoring drug-related hospital emergencies will also be explored, as a means to ensure vigilance in a rapidly-changing drug situation and to help deliver timely and effective responses.
On the security side, Mr Goosdeel will meet the Chief of the Drug Law Enforcement Unit of the Cyprus police, Glykerios Leontiou, to review improvements in monitoring and prevention activities related to drug trafficking through airports and ports. They will also discuss the importance of monitoring drug-related crime and the contribution of Cyprus to the EU Early Warning System on new psychoactive substances.
During the visit, Mr Goosdeel will meet the Management Board of the Cyprus National Addictions Authority, including the Head of the national focal point in the Reitox network. Talks will centre on the potential for further developing cooperation between Cyprus and the EMCDDA, the agency’s work priorities, the importance of drug policy evaluation and the need for evidence-based harm-reduction programmes.