GIS – 26 June 2020: 80 detainees at the Eastern High Security Prison are currently undertaking a five-day training programme on combating drug abuse and illicit trafficking at the Eastern High Security Prison, Melrose as part of the activities in the context of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking commemorated on June 26 each year.
The theme chosen by the United Nation this year is: “Better knowledge for better care”.
The training programme which is being conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and other Government departments as well as Non-Governmental Organisations was closed, this morning, by the Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Mario Nobin at the Eastern High Security Prison, after having acquainted the detainees with the appropriate knowledge about the consequences of drugs and its social repercussions.
The training programme also raised awareness among the detainees on the harmful effects of drugs, as well as on human rights and social services which in turn will help them when they integrate the society.
In his address, the Commissioner of Prisons emphasised on the ways to tackle effectively the drug problem across the world. According to him, it is necessary that the institutions responsible for criminal justice, health and social services provide integrated solutions in accordance with international drug control conventions, human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.
He recalled that the penitentiary service of Mauritius envisions a safer society owing to best correctional practices with the mission of serving the society by keeping detainees in safe and humane detention and helping them through rehabilitation programmes so as they can reintegrate the society after their imprisonment.
In terms of rehabilitation, he spoke of various programmes being carried out in different prisons in several fields namely: education, vocational, medical, drug addiction and the fight against delinquent behaviour.
With regard to substance abuse, he pointed out that a significant number of detainees at the prisons have a direct or indirect connection to substance abuse and added that around 65% are chemically dependent.
The Eastern High Security Prison has currently has some 2,600 detainees in its custody and around 300 of them are on methadone replacement therapy. The prison has also set up two treatment and rehabilitation centres to meet the needs of prisoners with problems related to substance abuse and addiction. The duration of the treatment programme is 6 months and is based ona multidisciplinary approach.Smoking prevention units are also set up in different prisons.
The Prisons services are also constantly partnering with various NGOS, Representatives of civil society, Religious and Governmental Organisations in the fight against drug scourge in a bid to provide support to detainees and their relatives during and after their detention tofacilitate their integration in the society. A Peer Support Scheme and a Detainees ’Council have also been set up in all prisons to better understand the different aspirations and needs of prisoners.
International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is commemorated on June 26 every year to raise public awareness of therisks associated with the consumption of drugs. This year’s theme "Better Knowledge for Better Care”, emphasises the need to improve understanding of drug problems across the world. It also aims at strengthening international cooperation and limits the consequences of drug abuse and trafficking on the health of individuals, as well as on governance and security.
The General Assembly of the United Nations has decided to celebrate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in order to strengthen action and cooperation at the national, regional and international levels with the aim of achieving a society free from drug abuse.
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