Mauritius PM calls for collaboration to combat drug scourge

Mauritius: The fight against drug use and illicit trafficking is a priority for Government, and the collaboration of everyone is imperative to combat the drug scourge affecting the society, said the Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, this morning, at the Paul Octave Wiehe Auditorium in Réduit, in the context of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking observed annually on 26 June.

Mauritius PM calls for collaboration to combat drug scourge
Mauritius PM calls for collaboration to combat drug scourge Image credit: Facebook

Mauritius: The fight against drug use and illicit trafficking is a priority for Government, and the collaboration of everyone is imperative to combat the drug scourge affecting the society, said the Prime Minister, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, this morning, at the Paul Octave Wiehe Auditorium in Réduit, in the context of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking observed annually on 26 June.

The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government, Disaster and Risk Management, Dr Mohammad Anwar Husnoo; the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Recreation, Jean Christophe Stephan Toussaint; the Minister of Health and Wellness, Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal; the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah; the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles, Lisa Simrique Singh; as well as other eminent personalities were present.

Advertisement

According to the Prime Minister, the Day is an occasion to reflect on the drug scourge which affects all countries and to reaffirm the country’s commitment to scale up the fight against drug trafficking.

Remarking on the global consumption of illicit drugs, he stated that Mauritius is not spared since more youths and adults fall prey to drug abuse. He observed that the emergence of new synthetic drugs is affecting the youth and society at large.

He reiterated his firm commitment to combat illicit drugs. He pointed out that the actions undertaken in recent years bear testimony to his willingness and determination to step up this relentless fight. He further recalled that Mauritius was the first country in Africa to launch the Methadone Substitution Therapy and the Needle Exchange Programme.

Speaking about the actions taken by Government to counter this problem, the Prime Minister underlined that as of date, some Rs 15 billion of drugs have been seized. He spoke of the setting up of the National Drug Secretariat, the High-Level Drug and HIV Council, and the Drug Inquiry Commission to inquire into the extent of illicit drug consumption, its economic and social consequences and the availability of new types of drugs, including synthetic drugs. He added that a national campaign, ‘Ansam kont la drog,’ has also been launched.

Furthermore, he stressed that 85% of the Drug Inquiry Commission recommendations have been implemented, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to the fight against the drug scourge.

Lauding the important advocacy role played by NGOs in the fight against drug use, the Prime Minister said that it is imperative to work in close collaboration. He highlighted that the Government will continue to support those NGOs financially and provide them with all the necessary assistance to deliver their prevention and rehabilitation programmes better.

Advertisement

He also cautioned the youth on the ills of drug addiction and urged them to stay away from drugs adding that society needs to fight this menace. He appealed to them not to fall prey to peer pressure and encouraged them to participate in more healthy activities such as sports, music, and theatre.

For her part, Vice-Prime Minister Dookun-Luchoomun dwelt on the theme of the Day, which is “People first: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention”.

She underlined the need to demonstrate more empathy towards the victims of drug abuse while adding that stigmatisation can cause more harm than drug consumption itself. Hence the need, she said, to better understand drug users and to show more compassion towards them and provide them with adequate assistance.

She emphasised the school is an important place to sensitise learners about the dangers of drug misuse and abuse and ways of resisting peer pressure to try drugs.

She spoke about the Get Connected Programme, which aims to develop youth resilience. The Rebound Programme is a media-based life skills and risk education programme developed for young people in school settings and counselling desks and psychologists at schools to support students.

As for the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Singh, she underlined that the theme of the Day focuses on the need to put people first by ending stigma and discrimination and strengthening prevention.

She underlined the importance of rehabilitation, upholding the human rights of people who use drugs, and protecting people and communities by ending impunity for drug traffickers profiting from people’s pain.

The Day was also marked by a presentation of awards to 14 NGOs, a sketch by Dr Regis Chaperon State Secondary School students, songs by the artist Dagger KKila and by Clarel Armelle, and a visit to an exhibition.