The National Drug Use Survey has revealed that the number of drug users in Male’ is 4,342, and that in the atolls is 3,154.
The survey report prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the Maldivian government says that drug use is most common among people aged between 15 and 19.
Three methods were used in the survey, namely respondent driven sampling, household survey approach and focus group discussion.
Respondent driven sampling was used only in Male’, while household survey approach and focus group discussion were used in the atolls.
In Male’, 635 drug users were interviewed. Their average age was 23 years.
In the atolls, 152 drug users were interviews. Their average age was 26 years.
The survey was conducted from October 2011 to February 2012. An enumerator team of 50 people visited 3,500 households and interviewed 762 people, and conducted 27 focus group discussions in Male’ and atolls.
Results of the survey show that the most common form of stimulant used in the Maldives is alcohol, followed by cannabis, hashish and other opioids.
Several recommendations were included in the report for finding a solution to the problem of drugs in the Maldives.
Recommendations included restricting demand and supply of drugs, setting up a national response aimed at reducing the harmful effects of drugs, increasing rehabilitation centres, granting permission to numerous groups to operate such centres, and creating an environment in which drug users can seek rehabilitation.