Since the establishment of the Drug Treatment Court in 2019, a total of 17 substance abusers have benefited thus far.
This is according to Magistrate Rhondel Weever, who addressed a ceremony on Friday to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The Magistrate said the judicial system observed that numerous persons brought before the courts are substance abusers and the drug treatment programme provides an alternative for offenders of this nature.
A person charged with an offence and who either pleads guilty or is found guilty, can accept a custodial sentence or enter the programme as an alternative to incarceration. She explained that offences involving the use of violence or weapon, generally, will not qualify.
Even though these persons have received substance abuse treatment, drug trafficking in Guyana is still relatively high.
“Since the adult drug treatment court was launched, we have had 17 applications, all the applicants were males between the ages 18 to 60-years-old.
Their illicit substances of choice were marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs,” Magistrate Weever said.
She added that three persons are still receiving treatment.
The Magistrate said that substance abuse is a serious problem and it often results in persons being in conflict with the law.
“The drug treatment court of Guyana presents an opportunity for the justice system to intervene and offer valuable treatment options to adults, juveniles or youth with substance abuse disorder and their families,” Magistrate Weever noted.
Meanwhile, Deputy Head at Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) Rayon Samuels, said the flow of narcotics is difficult to stem because the country has become a transhipment point for drugs.
He added that because of the geographical location of the country, CANU has observed that many hidden smuggling ports have been created.
He said “CANU is faced with many challenges in that hinder the accomplishment of its mandate as it relates to reduction and supply.”
Samuels listed the challenges. “These include clandestine airstrips in the country’s forested areas, few seizures for the last year, we had airplanes crash landing, discoveries of illegal airstrips.
“Other challenges are the water ways and hidden trails that evade law enforcement.”
He said that even though drug smuggling seizures have reduced because of the aforementioned challenges, CANU will continue to fulfill its duties.
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