Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

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 Mauritius: The Drugs Don't Work

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lilgirllost
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PostSubject: Mauritius: The Drugs Don't Work   Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:47 pm

This article comes from AllAfrica.com a newspaper from a place in Africa called Mauritius.
The link to the original article is

http://allafrica.com/stories/201009240378.html

I thought it was a really interesting article and wanted to share it with you guys.

I think it is also important to mention, this same place will enforce THE DEATH PENALTY for ANYONE who brings suboxone or subutex into the country. EVEN IF YOU HAVE A LEGAL SCRIPT. If you would like to read that accompanying article, you can find it at

http://www.defimedia.info/articles/6935/1/PM-promises-death-penalty-law-before-election/Page1.html

and I have also copied/pasted it to the bottom of this one



Mauritius: The Drugs Don't Work

Nicholas Rainer

Port Louis — The conventional approach to fighting against narcotics trafficking isn't showing many results. If anything, the situation is getting worse. A lot more honesty and daring is necessary if we want to reverse this trend.

Mauritius is clearly losing its war on drugs. After all, one doesn't become the injection drug use capital of Africa with a successful drugs policy. Yet the country isn't alone in its predicament.

Governments all over the world are gradually coming to terms with the realization that this global Hydra simply cannot be killed, no matter how many billions of dollars are expended to that very end.

As a result, a growing chorus of voices is calling for the regulation rather than the repression of non-medical drugs. Isn't it time the authorities here thought about a far more radical way of tackling the problem?

Let's be clear about one thing first. There wouldn't be a need to review drug policies in Mauritius if they worked. Unfortunately, the complete opposite is true. In fact, the current system is such a complete and utter shambles that it's a wonder the drug epidemic isn't the number one national priority.

If Jamil Peerally's documentary, "Paradi an dey", briefl y succeeded in bringing the issue to the fore, business as usual soon resumed, presumably to the immense satisfaction of drug traffickers.

The financial and social implications of this bankruptcy are staggering. More than 80% of those currently serving time in our prisons are there for drug-related offences.

There are between 10 000 and 20 000 intravenous drug users in Mauritius (depending on who you listen to) and their numbers are growing. According to the estimates of social workers, at least 57 kilos of hard drugs are required to service their needs monthly.

A drug addict needs on average three doses a day, which is a powerful incentive for criminal activity. Almost 70% of sex workers are heroin users. In 2005, 92% of new HIV cases were attributed to the use of dirty needles. And these figures don't even begin to reflect the human misery that is being wrought by this multibillion-rupee industry.

"I've seen three generations of men from the same family die from drug use", sighs Ally Lazer of the Movement Anti-Drogue (MAD). Having spent 30 years at the forefront of the fight against drugs, why does he think Mauritius is more than ever awash in heroin, brown sugar and Subutex? "A lack of political will, corruption and occult protection", he says without hesitation.

To illustrate this assertion, he points to our porous borders. "Mauritius is a small country with only one port and airport. If such huge amounts of drugs are getting in it means the government isn't doing its job.

" This indefatigable social worker speaks of the need to reorient the struggle against drug traffickers rather than drug users. And the best way to do this is to hit them where it hurts most, namely their "ill-gotten riches".

He cites the subsection of the Dangerous Drugs Act that provides for the confiscation of the assets of drug traffickers before affirming that not "a single paper clip" has yet been seized. As a result, they are able to resume their activities as soon as they are released back on the streets.

Ajay Daby, drug commissioner from 2001 to 2004, disagrees. Although he concedes that a "parallel drug-based economy" does exist, he believes that significant steps have been taken to take the wind out of traffickers' sails.

"We have managed to freeze many assets and send many big cases to the courts." Even though refuses to name any names, he speaks of the day he stopped a British Airways flight from taking off because he feared "an exodus of capital". "I think we're doing quite well in terms of intelligence gathering but there is a lot more we can do", he asserts.

What exactly does he have in mind? "Screening more business people. As long as the profit element exists there's going to be a lot of encouragement to sell drugs", he replies enigmatically.

He also affirms that the degree of political will to tackle the scourge can be measured by the type of drug policies and strategies that are adopted and their implementation. "That's what can truly make a difference in 25 years down the line."

The patent inability of the authorities to stem the flow of drugs into the country is only part of theproblem though. There's also the perversity of a system that insists on sending drug users to prison rather than for treatment.

This mentality is at best counterproductive and, at worst, criminally negligent. "Prisons are AIDS factories. Someone can go in for smoking a joint and when he leaves he's got AIDS and a heroin addiction", rails Ally Lazer.

The mind does indeed boggle at the logic that dictates that exposing drug consumers to the promiscuity and drug-use that are rife in prisons will somehow solve the problem.

"We've got to stop sending drug users to prison and increase jail terms for traffickers!" exclaims

Ally Lazer. If decision-makers continue to bury their heads in the sand, MAD will ensure that decriminalization becomes a subject of debate. Such a move is long overdue.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to show that criminalizing drugs and drug use has directly and indirectly led to a dramatic increase in drug-related harms, and that controlling and regulating the production and distributionof all drugs would go a long way towards reducing those harms", writes the Transform Drug Policy Foundation (TDPF) in its very forward-looking report "After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation", which establishes a "set of practical and pragmatic options for a global regulatory system for non-medical drugs".

Advocates of the regulation of non-medical drugs say that rather than spend billions of dollars trying to achieve a Pyrrhic victory, far better to control and regulate the purchase and consumption ofthese substances.

As well as eliminating the criminal elements that thrive on the illicit trade of drugs, this would have the added benefit of giving the authorities far more resources for the treatment of those who need it. It's also a far more realistic approach.

For, as Simon Jenkins explained so well in The Guardian last year, the premises of the current war on drugs are stunningly flawed. "The underlying concept of the war on drugs, initiated by Richard Nixon in the 1970s, is that demand can be curbed by eliminating supply. It has been enunciated by every US president and every British prime minister.

This concept marries intellectual idiocy - that supply leads demand - with practical impossibility. But it is golden politics. For 30 years it has allowed western politicians to shift blame for not regulating drug abuse at home on to the shoulders of poor countries abroad. It is gloriously, crashingly immoral."

Thankfully, this paradigm is finally being seen for the folly it is. A growing number of countries - Argentina, Portugal, Brazil and Mexico - are slowly moving towards or have already opted for decriminalization.

Of course, "the legal regulation of drugs will not eliminate problematic drug use or dependence," as TDPF puts it. It will however address much of what is dastardly about this intractable problem.

Yet while many other developing countries are looking for novel, progressive ways of solving the drug problem, Mauritius will in all likelihood continue down the path of repression.

Ajay Daby, for one, firmly dismisses any suggestions that decriminalization could succeed where other policies have failed. "We need to be more repressive," he says before conceding that it's also a social problem that requires "social- oriented policies".

Attempts at such policies have had encouraging results, but they've mainly been grossly insufficient. For instance, Methadone treatment has only been extended to a fraction of drug users while the needle exchange programme suffers from a number of flaws, not least of which has been police interference.

Drugs are a highly divisive issue. Certain people believe that both drug users and drug traffickers should be severely punished while others are of the opinion that drug addiction should be treated like any other disease.

Yet however stark these differences, there's no denying that, in their current shape and form, our drug policies are simply not working. Ergo, there needs to be a national debate on what is wrong them and what can de done to fight this epidemic and all its attendant ills more effectively.

If, on the other hand, we continue to treat drugs like a taboo, we will only be playing into the hands of those who profit from the status quo: drug traffickers and their lackeys.

"There often appears to be a vast gulf of irreconcilable differences between those of us advocating for harm reduction approaches to drug use, and those in the anti-drugs movement.

To bridge the gap between these movements, harm reduction advocates must not be coy about the horrific problems that can be associated with drug use. Individuals in the anti-drugs movement are motivated too by their experience of these harms. Discussing these experiences openly and without prejudice could lead to a common language we can all share," TDPF states.


PM promises death penalty law before election

The Prime Minister has launched a National Policing Strategic Framework that is expected to strengthen and make the Police Force more effective in tracking law breakers and bring it closer to the community.

The Prime Minister also promises changes in the law to provide for death penalty to Subutex peddlers and murderers before the end of his present mandate and before the general elections.

“We have to be severe. Subutex will not be allowed in the country. Even those who have to take Subutex under medical prescription will not be spared. It is better that they do not come to Mauritius on holidays with Subutex; they will have to face severe penalties,”he said after launching the National Policing Strategic Framework at the Octave Wiehé auditorium in Réduit on Wednesday.

The framework provides for a new culture and philosophy that will result in a more competent, effective and efficient delivery of service by the members of the police force.

It also calls for additional responsibility on the community. It will be expected to work closely with the force and report all offences.

The framework is a trust building exercise to make the society a better place to live in. An independent cell will also be set up where members of the community can disclose information and make complaints.

Police officers will have to respect human rights, work in transparency and be accountable for their actions.

Earlier the PM said crime rates had not increased; crime detection had. He said that for the first time, there was a decrease in crime by 8.5% in 2009 thanks to the vigilance and the efficiency of the police. However, he deplored that the general perception was that law and order was deteriorating in the country.
As example, he mentioned the case of heroin trafficking in the country.

He said: “In 2000, there were 416 cases of heroin, in 2001 there were 761 cases, in 2002 there were 779 cases. 952 cases of heroin were registered in 2003 while 851 and 861 cases were registered in 2004 and 2005 respectively whereas in 2006, heroin cases decreased to 400 and in 2009 there have been 207 cases.”

However, he agreed that the traffic of Subutex had increased while the traffic of heroin had gone down. To combat this traffic, he would soon come with a law that would give the judiciary the right to deal severely with drug traffickers and murderers.



RuthAnn
aka lilgirllost

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