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Number of problematic drug users rises

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Prague, Dec 7 (CTK) – The number of people who have a serious problem with drugs use has been rising in the past years and their total rose to 47,700 in 2014, which was 2500 more than in 2013, Viktor Mravcik, head of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, said yesterday.
He said legal drugs – alcohol and tobacco – are also heavily used in the Czech Republic with a population of 10.5 million.
Mravcik said the number of pervitin (methamphetamine) users has also been increasing. In 2005, there were 20,500 of them, in 2010 the total rose to 28,200, in 2012 there were 30,700 pervitin users and in 2014, their number rose to 36,400.
Mravcik said the growing number may be due to that pervitin has been spread outside the group of traditional “hard users” and penetrated the environment of entertainment and clubs.
“Pervitin is a popular drug and its availability is high. The police have been seizing more and more of it. Percussors are still smuggled from abroad,” Mravick said.
Last year, there were 6.73 problematic drug users per 1000 of inhabitants aged 15 to 64. Some 45,600 users took drugs intravenously. Heroin was used by 4100 people.
Jindrich Voboril, national drug coordinator, said there is also a high degree of use of legal drugs – tobacco and alcohol. There are 31 percent of people aged over 15 who smoke. Men constitute 37 percent of them and women 26 percent.
Twenty-four percent of Czechs smoke daily. Men smoke 15 to 20 cigarettes a day more often and women five to nine.
Sixty-nine percent of adults are non-smokers. Fifty-four percent of people do not smoke throughout their lives.
Alcohol is drunk by 12.5 percent of men and women every day. Some 170,000 people regularly drink high quantities and there are about 600,000 risky drinkers in the country.
Last year, almost one fifth of 15-year-old children said they got drunk in the past month. Sixteen percent of 15-year-old children and 5 percent of 13-year-old children lit a cigarette at least once a week.
The Chamber of Deputies has been presented a draft amendment to the law on protection against tobacco and alcohol. It stipulates among others for a ban on smoking in restaurants and for the temporary closure of a facility in which children would be drinking alcoholic beverages.
Almost 1.26 billion crowns were spent on drug policy, of which 1.01 billion crowns were spent by the state, 180.2 million by regions and 60.8 million by municipalities.
Spending on prevention again decreased in 2014 compared with 2013, while more money was earmarked for follow-up care and a reduction of consequences.
In the years 2009-13, an equivalent of some 310 million crowns from EU funds were used for various anti-drug projects.
A total of 1.47 billion crowns went to treatment from health insurance in 2013, compared with 1.6 billion in 2012.
($1=24.802 crowns)

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