Malta: cocaine abuse on the rise; heroin use on the decline

According to the Annual European Report on Drug Use, cocaine abuse continues to increase in Malta, while heroin use has decreased. The Report also confirmed what agencies in Malta, such as Sedqa, have long thought with regard to hashish being stronger today than it was ten years ago. In comments to TVM, Dr Moses Camilleri from Sedqa said that a hashish user today will suffer more serious side effects than this drug would have caused previously.

Sedqa drug addiction specialist, Dr Moses Camilleri, told TVM that the European Report on drug use shows that the patterns of drug addiction in Malta were similar to the situation facing most European countries.

Cocaine abuse continues to increase, even in Malta, so much so that in 2013, 16.5% of those who abused of substances were using cocaine.

“The frequency of cocaine use is being seen among people who come to ask for help. People who use cocaine in a way where it becomes a problem is increasing and these are the people who usually come to us to ask for help. In the same way that it is increasing in Europe, we are also seeing an increase here in Malta. ”

Another common trend is heroin abuse, with the report showing that the number of people using this drug has decreased, both in Malta and in Europe. Dr Camilleri said this did not mean there were no more problems in respect of heroin use.

“As is common knowledge, heroin is one of the hardest and most difficult substances to stop using. And while it’s not impossible, as I don’t want to give up on anyone, it’s one of those substances that is not easy to quit once you become addicted. So while we are seeing fewer new people, we are seeing people who in the past had a problem and who are suffering from side effects due to the use of that substance. ”

In 2013, Malta registered a 13.2% use of cannabis substances. The European Report on Drug Use shows what agencies like Sedqa have observed in recent years, that hashish today is stronger than it was 10 years ago.

“People who use hashish and who seek our help are suffering from more serious consequences than we have ever seen before. The only explanation we can find is that hashish available on the market both in Malta and in Europe contains an active ingredient which is stronger than it was a decade ago. ”

This does not mean that this drug was destined for Malta, but is often seized by the Authorities on its way from one country to another.

During 2017 there were five deaths related to drug use in Malta and almost 276,000 syringes were distributed. In Luxembourg, which compares to Malta in terms of population, there were 4 deaths, but almost twice as many syringes distributed.