On Friday, February 15, 2019, the National Guard co-organized with the University of Cyprus and KENTHEA, a scientific conference on "Modern Forms of Addictions: Lucky Games, Gambling and Internet, which took place in the " A. Leventis " hall of the University of Cyprus.
The conference was held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Anastasiadis.
The Conference was honored with the presence of the Metropolitan of Tamassos and Orinis, Mr. Isaiah, the Minister of Defense Savvas Angelidis, the Chief of the National Guard Lieutenant General Ilias Leontaris, the Vice Rector of the University of Cyprus Dr. Ioannis Giapintzakis, Sport Commissioner Fivos Zachariades, Volunteerism Commissioner Mr. Yiannis Yiannakis and the representative of the Cyprus Dependency Response Authority, Policeman Stelios Sergides, of YKAN.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, Minister of Defense Savvas Angelidis stressed that the common goal of everyone is to address all forms of addiction, including pathological behaviors. He also said that the strategy followed by the National Guard focuses on co-operating and tackling the problem with other bodies, providing healthy and creative opportunities to the staff to take part in their leisure time and to improve their living conditions.
In his greeting, the President of KENTHEA, the Metropolitan of Tamassos and Orinis Mr. Isaiah, referred to the work of this organization and to the assignment by the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus the task of enlightening the clergy on the addictions. He also highlighted the need to prioritize preventive measures for adolescents as well as the adoption of interventions aimed at limiting the associated harm.
The President of the Cyprus Dependencies Response Authority, in his greeting read by his spokesperson, referred to the Authority's mission as a senior co-ordinating body for dependency issues and to the recent signing of an updated Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Defense on the issue, and following the need to focus the anti-dependence actions on prevention.
A Memorandum of Understanding between MOD and KENTHEA was signed at the conference. Also, an honorary plaquet was awarded to the late Rector of the University of Cyprus, Professor Constantinos Christofides for his contribution to the anti-independence effort.
During the Conference, the following alarming data on youngsters and young people were reported:
- 8% of Cypriots are addicted to the internet,
- The percentage of people who are frequently gambling is among the top three in Europe,
- A pan-European survey of 2015 showed that 23% of young people are betting online,
- The percentage of students who consume alcohol is above the European average.
Among the conclusions of the Seminar was the fact that in addition to substance abuse, addictive gambling and internet addictive behaviors were as important, which are common among young people, were highlighted, while the link between addiction behaviors both with psychosocial problems and with pathological behavior of addiction.
In addition, in the context of the analysis carried out, special attention was paid to the need to take additional preventive measures, while at the same time educating parents, educators, priests and young people themselves, with collective and coordinated action by all social bodies in order to succeed.
This activity took place within the framework of the National Guard's constant care for personnel and the sensitisation of its members, and not only, to major problems that are plaguing our times.