Tuesday marks the final day in which Czech smokers will be able to light-up in pubs and restaurants. As of Wednesday new anti-smoking legislation signed into law early this year formally comes into effect, bringing the country in line with the rest of Europe. Adam Kulhánek is a doctor and addiction specialist at Charles University’s Faculty of Medicine, and also a member of the Coalition Against Tobacco NGO. I asked him what impact he expected the smoking ban to have:
Czech drugs control employees report a drop in the illegal production of pervitin or crystal methamphetamine in home labs following tighter control of medicines containing pseudoephedrine in neighboring Poland. After such medicines were taken off the list of over-the-counter drugs sold in the Czech Republic drug dealers relied heavily on Poland where they obtained 70 percent of the pseudoephedrine used in the illegal production of this home-made drug. Drug experts say tighter norms in Poland will now increase interest in these medicines where norms are still lax, such as Bulgaria or Turkey.
Police say they have charged 21 people in connection with a drugs scandal at a prison house near Pribram in south Bohemia. According to a police spokeswoman over 100 officers took part in a raid on the prison earlier this week, confiscating a vast amount of drugs, tablets and needles. The convicts reportedly bribed the guards to allow them mobiles and turn a blind eye to the fact that drugs were regularly smuggled into the prison in food and personal belongings.
Two Czech football internationals have become caught up in a police investigation into an alleged drug dealer, the Czech Radio station Radiožurnál reported on Tuesday. Former Viktoria Plzeň player Ondřej Vaněk is suspected of acquiring narcotics from Vítězslav Meišner, who has been charged with selling ecstasy and cocaine. Current Plzeň player Jan Kopic is suspected of loaning Meišner CZK 500,000. The two players are due to appear as witnesses when the case comes to court soon, Czech Radio said. The station has police evidence that appears to show Vaněk, who now plays in the Russian league, asking Meišner to find him some "pills". Kopic is said to have made the substantial loan to Meišner just a month after their first meeting.
Police have broken up an international gang that used Czechs to smuggle hashish between Denmark and Greenland. Two Czechs were caught red-handed in a police swoop in Greenland and found in possession of one kilogram of the drug. They have been deported back to the Czech Republic. Another five Czechs have been arrested in their homeland. Police carried out long term surveillance of the sophisticated smuggling operation that profited from the high price of the drug in Greenland. The ringleader was a US citizen living in Denmark but a Czech was highly placed in the logistics of the operation. Some drugs were also shipped to the Czech Republic for sale, mostly in the South Moravia region.
A Czech citizen wanted by police in the Czech Republic is facing deportation from New Zealand but only after serving a punishment for smuggling five kilogrammes of material used to produce the illegal drug ecstasy, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting the New Zealand Herald. Karel Šroubek is sought in connection with a murder in the Czech Republic in 2003. He says he fled to New Zealand, where he made us of the different name Jan Antolík, to escape from police pressure to provide false evidence over the murder. Šroubek will be deported once his five-year prison sentence on drugs charges, which was handed down last year, comes to an end.
A Czech woman is reportedly among five foreigners detained by police in Cambodia on Tuesday for allegedly producing illegal drugs in the country. As well as the Czech, the nationalities of the others are said to be Ukraine, the US, Finland, and Russia, according to the Khmer Times. The arrests followed a swoop on houses at the weekend where drug making equipment and drugs were found, according to the paper. The Czech woman, who is reported to be 26-years-old, could face a jail sentence of up to five years if convicted.
Drug experts in the Czech Republic have a reason to celebrate. For the first time in several years, the number of heavy drug addicts has gone down, according to the latest annual report about the state of drug abuse in the Czech Republic. The consumption of alcohol and tobacco among children under the age of 16 has declined as well. I asked the head of the government’s national Anti-Drug Agency, Jindřich Vobořil, to outline the situation: