A three-day workshop to develop a National Drug Control Master Plan for Mauritius so as to effectively address the drug problem in the country kicked off yesterday at Le Voilà Hotel, Bagatelle. It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Defence and Rodrigues, the Prime Minister's Office in collaboration with the United Nations office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
In his address at the opening ceremony, the Senior Chief Executive of the Ministry of Defence and Rodrigues, Mr P. Jhugroo, underscored that global illegal drug trade is having sweeping consequences across the world. Referring to the situation in Mauritius, he pointed out that with the emergence of new types of drugs, the increase in number of youngsters and students indulging in drug consumption and erosion of values have all contributed to the easy acceptance of substances abuse.
Mr Jhugroo highlighted that the drug scourge, an island-wide problem, besets society at large, cutting across gender, age groups and social status and the consequences are damaging to the social fabric. In the face of the surge and penetration of new types of drugs in the country and with the large number of young drug consumers, Government has made it a priority to pursue its relentless fight against drug trafficking, he added.
The formulation of the Master Plan, he underlined, is in line with Government's objective to urgently and effectively address this problem and to foster a new environment safe and free from drugs. Along with that, different strategies and actions taken by Government have contributed to curb the drug problem so that it does not reach an alarming situation, he pointed out. These include the setting up of a Commission of Enquiry, the implementation of the Dangerous Drug Act, and the setting up of the Anti-Drug and Smuggling Unit with a clear mandate to combat illegal drugs in all forms in Mauritius.
The workshop spanning over three days, from 31 May to 02 June 2017 is being attended by private stakeholders and representatives of various organisations and Ministries to elaborate and tailor a Master Plan for Mauritius. Dr Reychad Abdool, resource person from the UNODC will provide technical expertise during the working sessions.
Discussions focusing on various thematic ideas including the legislation and implementation framework, drug supply reduction, drug demand reduction and harm reduction will be held during the workshop.
The comprehensive and structured framework of the Master Plan will establish specific actions to address the related problems and shape Government policies on drug issues. It also aims at maintaining and boosting dialogue as well as to create a synergy with all stakeholders so that together with the Government they can collaborate in an integrated manner to fight this scourge.