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Drug coordinator wants part of alcohol tax for prevention

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Prague, May 31 (CTK) – One percent of the yields on tobacco, alcohol and gambling taxes should go to the prevention of addictions, Czech national drug coordinator Jindrich Voboril said on Tuesday and added that he wants to push the measure into the prepared amendment on tax assignment.

“Anti-drug policy cannot be implemented without money. We are talking with the government on a sizeable increase in the financial means. One percent from tobacco, alcohol and gambling could be directed to treatment and prevention,” Voboril said when presenting a European annual report on drugs.

The 1 percent amounts to about half a billion crowns annually.

The government has earmarked 130 million crowns for prevention this year. The Health Ministry provided another 18 million and the Education Ministry about the same amount of money.

Voboril said last year, the Government Office provided 90 million crowns and in 2014, it was 78 million. At the time of the economic crisis, it was threatened that no money would be provided.

Voboril said “it seems that the current government is more accommodating to financial requirements.”

The half a billion crowns, if acquired, would be sent to the network of facilities for addicts, out-patient ambulances and preventive programmes. Treatment and services are not available to all.

The number of drug addicts rose by 2500 to 47,700 in 2014 year-on-year. As many as 36,400 people were on pervitin. Alcohol is drunk daily by 12.5 percent of men and women. High amounts of alcohol are drunk regularly by 170,000 people and there about 600,000 risk drinkers.

Thirty-one percent of people over 15 smoke. Thirty-seven percent of them are men and 26 percent women. Twenty-four Czechs smoke daily. Men smoke 15 to 20 cigarettes most often and women five to nine.

About 300 people die of drinking an overdose of alcohol and about 50 people overdose on illegal drugs annually. About 25,000 people die in consequence of smoking and excessive drinking.

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