New drugs plan under consideration
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is currently perusing a five-year drug plan for the country, which outlines practices and procedures for handling both legal and illegal substances, Attorney General
has revealed. Brathwaite said the plan takes into consideration that there are new designer drugs that will likely reach the country’s shores.
“In formulating the drug plan, we would have a holistic approach to how we would treat legal and illegal substances and have one body that champions our overall legal framework,” Brathwaite told the opening of a four-day national seminar on Illicit Drug Production, Synthetic Drugs and New Psychoactive Substances at the Crane Resort this morning.
Brathwaite who is also the Minister of Home Affairs said the 2015 to 2020 programme was a long time in coming.
“We do need to strengthen some sections legislatively and once Cabinet approves that I will get that done, because we have not had a comprehensive plan in many years. I don’t remember how far back but we are a bit behind in terms of our commitments to CICAD (the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission)in terms of having the internationally accepted framework, which is part of the reason why we have been working so hard over the last year to get the drug plan finalized,” he explained.
He added that the situation was such that all hands needed to be on deck to address the problem, hence the national seminar for the training and retraining of police officers, postal workers, the drug squad and staff of the National Council on Substance Abuse.
While he could not say what new drugs have made their way into the country he said he had to plan as though they were all present in Barbados.
“The extent of the use is what I cannot comment on, but I am adamant that we have to train as many as our people as possible. I am adamant that we have to train our young people because they seem more inclined to experiment today than they were years ago.”
Meantime head of the supply and reduction section of CICAD Ziggie Malyniwsky said while the Caribbean had traditionally focused on drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana and alcohol, there was now a need for greater awareness of synthetic drugs like ecstasy and methamphetamine.
“If you are not aware of these substances you don’t see them. The systems for gathering data are through the police and customs but also though the household surveys and programmes. Unless you ask the questions you would have no idea of the existence of these substances, and therefore you have a hard time implementing policy and programmes to deal with them.
“Traditionally within the Caribbean the focus has been on cocaine, heroine and marijuana in various degrees, and of course, alcohol. These substances are for the most part off the radar but nonetheless it exists and as the AG [Attorney General] said with the different functions that take place, the influx of tourism, satisfying the tourist trade for drugs, all of those are going to provide opportunities for these drugs to leak into the community,” Malyniwsky said.
He also revealed that these new “particularly toxic drugs” were proving to be a challenge for countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
“The traditional plant-based drugs like cocaine, heroine and marijuana and also the synthetic drugs like ecstasy and methamphetamine and then the new focus on the psychoactive substances, provide a particularly difficult challenge for countries because they are not scheduled in any way internationally or nationally, and that provides countries with some challenges controlling these drugs which are particularly toxic.
“They are not controlled and as a result they are sold under the title of legal drugs or legal high and that brings with it a certain permission if you will to use these drugs.” the CICAD unit head explained.