IN SHORT

Marijuana's popularity growing

MARIJUANA has been becoming more popular in Slovakia. While in 2000, only 11.7 percent of the population aged between 15 and 64 had used marijuana, last year's figure was up to 15.6 percent, the Sme daily wrote on June 14.

A government report on the National Fight Against Drugs Programme 2005-2006 states that illegal drugs have become more widely used within families and groups of friends, in both urban areas and the countryside.

"More than one-third of young people have already had their first experience with an illegal drug," the daily cited the report.

Miroslav Jablonický from the government office, who drew up the document, said that the popularity of marijuana has increased most over the last few years.

However, the use of hard drugs has also risen. According to the report, 1.2 percent of the population has used heroin, while the figure for methamphetamine increased from 0.6 percent in 2002 to almost 5 percent in 2006.

The number of drug-related crimes rose from 1,638 in 2005 to 1,742 last year. Most of these crimes were related to possession, but many were committed under the influence of drugs.

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