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Drug plan to go before Cabinet

A major plan is expected to go before Cabinet next month that will address the abuse of legal drugs in Barbados.

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY the plan falls under a proposed National Anti-Drug Plan.

“We are presently finalizing our National Anti-Drug Plan which will see us having a more coordinated approach to how we address all drug-related issues, not just marijuana, but the use of synthetics, the use of heroine, cocaine, etcetera,” he added.

Brathwaite noted that due to the availability of marijuana in certain states of the United States, the Mexicans, for example, were going to shift to heavier heroine production.

“Which means you would have much more of that stuff coming through the region. And as you very well know, if it passes through the region, we will have a challenge in terms of more of our people using heroine, cocaine, etcetera; and we know what happens when this sort of stuff hits the street,” the Attorney-General noted.

He recalled that the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) recently conducted a survey on the use of marijuana in schools, saying he was “more than a little bit concerned that we had guys in our junior school confessing to having used marijuana [and] alcohol”.

He said one or two other cases mentioned some harder drugs.

“So it is a real fight. It is a fight that we are going to need a collective approach, not just the criminal justice system . . . We place too much emphasis on the police. The emphasis needs to be on the families, on the church and on the schools and on the brothers and sisters, to move away young people from this type of behaviour, to keep them away from the criminal justice system,” the Cabinet Minister contended.

Brathwaite said the plan needed to be tweaked to include the availability and abuse of legal drugs.

“I would be surprised if I don’t take it [plan] to Cabinet next month. I just felt that the plan, when I was reading it, it struck me that the plan did not focus enough on the abuse of legal drugs. So we need to focus a lot more on the availability and abuse of legal drugs,” he stated.

He pointed out that in Toronto, Canada one of the greatest challenges was the abuse of legal drugs, particularly painkillers.

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