A total of 87 pupils, students and servicemen have been arrested on drugs-related charges since the start of the year, according to the latest figures from the Drug Law Enforcement Unit (YKAN).
Specifically, between January 1 and July 31 this year, 30 pupils, 30 National Guard conscripts and 27 students were arrested in connection with 71 cases. Last year’s figures showed 164 youngsters from the same categories detained in 133 drug-related incidents.
Out of the 30 pupils, 27 are Cypriots and 12 were aged between 14 and 16. The remainder were aged 17 or 18 at the time of their arrest.
In 2015, 15 of the 51 pupils arrested between the age of 14 and 16. In 2014, the total number of pupils arrested was 49 – down from the 2013 total of 64.
When it comes to the National Guard conscripts, the 30 arrested so far this year were taken into custody in connection with 26 cases compared to the 74 arrested in connection to 31 cases for the whole of 2015 and the 55 people arrested in connection to the 50 cases in 2014.
In 2013, the situation was worse with 72 conscripts detained in connection with 60 cases.
As far as the student arrests are concerned, the 27 taken into custody so far this year are said to be connected to 24 cases compared to the 39 students arrested in connection to 29 cases throughout all of 2015.
In 2014, the figures stood at 54 students involved in 43 cases while in 2013, 48 people – still studying at tertiary level – were arrested in connection to 37 cases.
Most of the cases were connected to possession of drugs, YKAN said, noting only a small number were suspected of being drug dealers.
The police also noted that when only small amounts are involved and when someone is arrested for the first time, he or she is usually required to submit to a rehabilitation programme instead of being sent to prison.
However, they will find themselves in court if they do not complete the programme, YKAN said.