Cyprus Country Drug Report 2019

Drug use and responses in prison

In Cyprus, there is one prison and several police stations in which those arrested can be kept in short-term detention. In 2017, around 2 000 people were held in prison.

No studies have been conducted on drug use prevalence in prison. Based on qualitative information provided by the Prison Department, 80 % of those convicted for drug-related activities mention using drugs prior to incarceration. The medical care of prisoners is addressed in the Prison Regulations, and the National Strategy on Illicit Substances Dependence, and the Harmful Use of Alcohol for 2013-20 provides the framework for the implementation of drug treatment in the criminal justice system.

Medical services are provided by the Ministry of Health, which appoints relevant healthcare staff. When specific health services cannot be provided inside the prison, inmates are referred to services outside the prison. An intake procedure is implemented on prison entry, with an assessment of drug-related problems and the provision of information on available drug services. A drug treatment programme, offering individual counselling to prisoners, was launched at the end of 2015. Pharmacologically assisted treatment is also available, including opioid substitution treatment, which is available to those inmates who received it prior to imprisonment and those who are in need of substitution treatment, regardless of their treatment history.

Inmates are also offered free testing and treatment for infection with hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus, as well as for tuberculosis and syphilis. In recent years, a mechanism has developed through which inmates may be referred to a therapeutic community while still serving their sentence (provided that they have served at least two thirds of the sentence) and a memorandum of cooperation between all parties involved has been signed to address the needs of released inmates.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.