A two-day Community Welfare Task Force on Drugs organised by the National Drug Secretariat, was launched yesterday morning by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal, at the Gold Crest Hotel in Quatre-Bornes.
In his address, the Health Minister emphasised that one of the recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry on Drugs launched in 2018 is to engage the community members in the fight against drugs. Awareness must be created at all levels so that citizens can take initiatives for Drug Use Prevention, he stated.
Dr Kailesh Jagutpal underlined that the Community Taskforce Members are doing a crucial work in the community as they are intervening at grassroot level by being in direct contact with the targeted population and are thus aware of the drug situation. The Minister urged them to share their experience and knowledge so that they can contribute to a more effective implementation of Government’s strategies in this regard.
He pointed out that according to a study undertaken in 2021, 87% of drug users aged above 18 are male and 13% are female, and 90% of this population first started their drug consumption with cannabis while 75 % of the drug users population are aged between 18 to 39 years. He highlighted that 50% started using cannabis between the age 11 to 17, and 65% of the study population consume synthetic drugs.
The Minister observed that these statistics highlight the importance of drug prevention campaigns targeting youngsters at an early stage, so that they are equipped with the right information regarding the harmful effects of drugs.