GIS - 27 June, 2019: The fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking remains one of Government’s priorities in its endeavour to promote a safer and healthier society for the youngsters of the country and the population and the collaboration of each and everyone is imperative to combat this social scourge impacting adversely on the society.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement today at the Jardin de la Compagnie in Port Louis. He was speaking in the context of a march held from Champ de Mars to Jardin de la Compagnie to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, observed annually on 26 June. Secondary school students, representatives of private as well as public organisations and NGOs participated in the march.
The Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence, Minister for Rodrigues, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, the Minister of Youth and Sport, Mr Stephan Toussaint, several ministers, and eminent personalities were present.
Prime Minister Jugnauth reiterated his firm commitment to combat illicit drugs and stated that the actions being undertaken in recent years bear testimony of his willingness and determination to step up this relentless fight. He reaffirmed that he will have no mercy for drug dealers while also highlighting that compassion must be shown for innocent victims. To this end, he indicated that Government through rehabilitation programmes will provide particular attention to those victims with a view to helping them overcome this difficult situation.
Speaking about Government’s dedication to counter this problem in Mauritius, the Prime Minister pointed out that since 2015 the Anti-Drug Smuggling Unit, in collaboration with other enforcement agencies has seized some 750 kgs of drugs worth more than Rs 5.7 billion. He also recalled that he had put in place the High Level Drug and HIV Council and the Drug Inquiry Commission to inquire into the extent of the illicit drug consumption, its economic and social consequences and the availability of new types of drugs, including synthetic drugs.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Jugnauth spoke of the various facilities and amenities that Government is providing to enhance the quality of life of the citizens. They comprise, amongst others, the provision of health tracks, and construction of Multi Use Games Area, gymnasiums and state-of-art sports complex. The implementation of the National Sports and Physical Activity Policy with the vision of promoting a healthier nation was also highlighted by the Prime Minister. He appealed to the civil society, parents, teachers, students, NGOs to work together to tackle this issue.
For his part, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Husnoo, pointed out that in 2016, 418 young people were admitted in hospitals for drug treatment adding that this figure increased from 455 in 2017 to 500 in 2018 which demonstrates that drug use among young people is increasing alarmingly.
On this score, he spoke of the work being undertaken by his Ministry to combat drug abuse. They are namely the inauguration of two Detoxification and Rehabilitation Centres last year at the Long Mountain Hospital and Mahebourg Hospital with the aim to provide a treatment programme for young drug addicts aged below 18; prevention programmes targeting some 34 000 students; mass media programmes to reinforce the combat against illicit drugs, distribution of methadone extended to Area Healthcare and Community Centres; setting up of Addictions Units in the five Regional Hospitals.
As for Minister Dookun-Luchoomun, she appealed to the youth not to fall prey to any types of drugs and to say no to drugs. She called on for more awareness programmes so that youngsters become more aware of the dangers of drugs.
For his part, Minister Toussaint, urged the youth to be responsible ambassadors who will effectively communicate to friends, family, parents and neighbours about the negative impacts and harms of drug abuse. He seized the opportunity to invite the youth and each and everyone to support the Mauritian team for the upcoming Indian Ocean Island Games 2019 which will be held from 19 to 28 July 2019.
International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trade
The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is an effort of the United Nations aimed at strengthening action and spreading awareness about drug abuse and illegal drug trade in the world. It is an expression of determination towards the goal of achieving an international drug-free society.
In 1987, the General Assembly decided to observe the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking day on 26th June every year. Individuals, organisations and societies across the globe support this initiative which aims at increasing awareness on the problem of drug abuse.
The theme for this year is Health for Justice. Justice for Health.
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