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Тwo of the Clinics for Treatment of Drug Addicts will be Moved from the Center of Athens

16 June 2010 / 08:06:19  GRReporter
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Two centers for treatment of drug addicts are expected to be moved from the center to the outskirts of Athens. This idea was announced after a meeting of representatives of the Ministry of Citizen Protection, the Organization against Drugs ΟΚΑΝΑ and the Mayor of the Municipality of Athens. However, no final decision was taken because the representatives of the Ministry of Health were absent from the workshop. The problem with crime at the center of the Greek capital grows more and more each year and it is based on the drug trade and illegal prostitution. Citizens and organizations agree that the areas around the centers for treatment of drug addicts are the most saturated with crime and are the most dangerous places for the residents and visitors of Athens.

”Being a cultural center once, the Exarchate Square has become the gathering of drug addicts in recent years,” said Themis who is a bartender in one of the restaurants on the square. He says that the drug trade is no secret to anyone in the vicinity. Like many other citizens Themis expects the authorities to take measures to solve the problem.  

According to the chairwoman of the Organization against Drugs Meni Malyuni the problem is not where the centers for detoxification are but in the overall government policy to the treatment of people with addictions in the country. She stressed that the drug users around the ΟΚΑΝΑ centers are not treated, but drug addicts who are on the waiting lists for treatment. She explained that these are people who are dependent on drugs and want to be treated, but can not enter into treatment programs with methadone due to the limited capacity of the organization. According to official statistics the number of people dependent on drugs that are waiting for treatment exceeds more than 3500 people in the country. “The problem is a public matter and a decision could not be reached until the Ministry of Health prepares a comprehensive action plan on how to deal with people with addictions,” she said. Meni Malyuni said that a proposal for merging the centers for treatment of drug addicts with municipal hospitals is being discussed currently. The advantage, according to specialists, is that the specialized offices will be able to serve more people with this problem. There remains the question whether the public would be prepared to accept this change.

Representative of the Ministry of Citizen Protection said that the arrests are constantly filled with drug addicts and the police can not carry out social policy. He also believes that the Ministry of Health must establish a uniform policy for dealing with the problem of drug-dependent, but this does not exhaust the matter. Solving the problem with illegal migrants in the country is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation. They are an essential part of the criminal network that deals with trade and distribution of drugs. “We very often arrest foreigners who reside illegally in the country and deal with distribution of drugs. We can not always deport them because the country hasn’t got the necessary agreements with the source countries,” he explains. After the verdict, they again are on the loose and this leads to a vicious circle. According to him the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation should propose a plan for effective control and management of the emigrant flow because police can not solve the problem without the cooperation of the other state institutions.

Historic Center of Athens and the commercial sites in the region suffer most from the crime that has spread in the city. The Union of Athens Hoteliers repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the growing crime and welcomed the decision for the relocation of the centers for treatment of drug addicts from the heart of Athens.

Tags: DrugssocietyNews
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