Drug addiction has taken different turns during the past years with the rejuvenation of this population as well as the feminisation. As far as trafficking is concerned, it is flourishing. The Prime Minister wants this war on drugs to involve all stakeholders. The report of the National Survey Among People Who Use Drugs, which was made public on Thursday, is intended to guide and indicate the current situation to those concerned in the management of drug users and the dismantling of networks.
PM offers also his political support
According to recent studies, the scale of the problem is such that the commitment of all stakeholders is essential to ensure that policies and strategies remain relevant and appropriate. The PM has announced the establishment of a Drug Offenders Administrative Panel based on a survey of drug users carried out by the National Drug Secretariat last September, which aims ar better understanding and assessing this population and providing them with adequate guidance and care. “The information gathered will be used to improve the causes of drug abuse. It is only together that we will win the battle against drugs,” said Pravind Jugnauth.
He took the opportunity to recall that it is his government that is behind the National Drug Control Master Plan and the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry on Drugs. “Our zero tolerance approach to drug traffickers has led to drug seizures amounting to Rs 4.7 billion in 2021 and Rs 471 million in 2020“, he said. He thus reiterated his commitment to this fight “whether morally, politically… with a view to helping those concerned with the dismantling of drug networks in the country“. The PM announced the creation of a specialised centre at the Montagne Longue hospital for the reintegration of young people with drug addiction problems. This centre is in addition to the 5 drug addiction units created in 2018.
Umutoni and Musango hail Pravind Jugnauth’s leadership
The presentation at the Sir Harilall Vaghjee Hall in Port Louis was attended by Christine Umutoni, UNDP’s representative in Mauritius and Seychelles, the WHO representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango, several ministers and stakeholders involved in this fight.
Dr Laurent Musango, welcoming Pravind Jugnauth’s commitment, reaffirmed WHO’s support for the four crucial steps, namely “reducing stigma and discrimination that constitute a barrier to accessing health services; promoting access to appropriate treatment; promoting an integrated multisectoral approach; and monitoring changes and impacts of interventions“.
Christine Umutoni commented, “It is crucial to engage in the measurement, monitoring and the sharing of information on the plague to better tackle it, intervene and save lives”.
Ally Lazer: “This report is not trustworthy”
The president of the Association of Social Workers of Mauritius (ATSM) and head of the Idriss Goomany Rehabilitation Centre, Ally Lazer is not in possession of this report but he says that he already knows a lot about its preparation. “This study by the National Drug Secretariat was conducted in a particular way, whereby known drug addicts have been paid to bring 5 other addicts to participate. They only did it for the money and the information gathered cannot be trusted. I am waiting to get a copy of the report to get a better idea. I was not among the stakeholders present at the presentation because I cannot sit with hypocrites,” he said. He mentioned concerns, that according to him, are more urgent, namely “a real control of customs at the port and airport, the reintroduction of Codeine Phosphate to treat the youngest, a better control of methadone and Natrezon in the 8 rehabilitation , which unfortunately create a new type of drug addicts, but above all, the non-victimisation of the drug addict, he is only a victim of his choice” he concluded, promising to come very soon with a key file on the treatment and management of this scourge.