Greece has set up its first "drug consumption" room to contain a surge of infectious diseases among drug addicts in the crisis-hit country, Greece's Organization Against Drugs, OKANA, said. Following similar projects in Western Europe, Canada and Australia, the centre Odysseas lets users inject drugs they bring themselves, under medical supervision, and has been visited by more than 200 addicts since it was set up in October.
Greece is a central hub on the route connecting the main country where heroin is produced, Afghanistan, and its biggest markets in Western Europe, annual reports by Europol and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) have shown.
Six years into a deep recession that has seen Greece slash its healthcare budget and society come under great pressure, those working at KETHEA, one of the country's biggest drug therapy networks, are being forced to deal with the fallout. The devastating mix of cuts in state funding and a severe deterioration in the living standards of addicts has left them with plenty of work to do.
Draft legislation that foresees the decriminalization of the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use but the leveling of criminal charges against individuals caught growing or manufacturing drugs or using them in public was submitted in Parliament in Greece. The bill is part of a broader initiative aimed at decongesting Greece’s jails, many of which are filled to beyond double their capacity. (See also: Drug law reform in Greece)
Criminal charges will only be brought against individuals caught growing or manufacturing drugs or using them in public, according to a draft law presented by the Justice Ministry on Wednesday, which says that the possession of a small quantity of drugs for personal use will be decriminalized. (See also: Drug law reform in Greece)
Nobody knows which came first: the economic crisis tearing Greece apart or shisha, the drug now known as the "cocaine of the poor". What everyone does accept is that shisha is a killer. And at €2 or less a hit, it is one that has come to stalk Greece, the country long on the frontline of Europe's financial meltdown. The drug crisis, brought to light in a new film by Vice.com, has put Athens's health authorities, already overwhelmed by draconian cuts, under further strain. (See also: 'Sisa', the drug of the poor)