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Rise in cannabis use in Cyprus, drop in ecstasy during the pandemic, survey says

Cannabis was the drug most used in Cyprus during the restrictions against the spread of COVID-19 while there has been a drop in the use of ecstasy according to the latest European Web Survey on Drugs presented on Thursday by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA).

The survey found that cannabis and ecstasy use are the drug-consumption patterns most impacted by COVID-19 restrictions since it emerged that while herbal cannabis use increased, use of ‘party drug’ MDMA/ecstasy declined.

According to a press release by the Cyprus National Addictions Authority (NAAC) that was among the around 100 organisations that participated in the survey, the data for Cyprus are similar to the European ones, as cannabis was the most used substance, with 97% of Cypriot participants reporting that they had used it in the previous 12 months.

In addition, a large percentage of Cypriots (40%) reported using more cannabis during the restrictive measures while 40% reported using less ecstasy. In total 606 Cypriots participated in the survey. Eight out of ten were men and the rest were women, most of them in the 18-35 age group.

Close to 50,000 adults (48,469) responded to the survey that ran between March and April 2021 in 30 countries (21 EU including Cyprus and 9 non-EU) when many populations were under COVID-19-related lockdowns. Targeted at people aged 18 and over who have used drugs, it aims to improve understanding of patterns of drug use in Europe and help shape future drug policies and interventions.

“I am confident that this ‘European Research Alliance’ will enhance our knowledge of substance use patterns and consumption levels in Europe and Cyprus, while it clearly demonstrates that online research methods have much to offer, especially in times of crisis and the imposition of restrictive measures, where no other methodologies can be applied, ” said Dr. Christos Mina, President of the Cyprus National Addictions Authority. The assessment of the real needs of society is achieved through research and is a prerequisite for the development of scientifically based policies and interventions, he added.

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