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Govt working on Drug Treatment Act
The Ministry of the People and Social Development has begun to draft a Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Act. Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development, Dr Lincoln Douglas, said the act would address the limitations in comprehensive approaches to improve substance-abuse treatment and rehabilitation services in T&T. He said so yesterday at the Organisation of American States’ Caribbean Regional Certification Mechanism Meeting for the training and certification programme at Kapok Hotel, Port-of-Spain. Douglas said the act would provide the necessary framework needed to govern institutional functioning. He said it also would serve as a management and quality assurance tool for the implementation of effective measures for sustainable rehabilitation and social reintegration of substance abusers.
Douglas said a major downfall in T&T’s fight against drug abuse was the lack of rehabilitation services and trained personnel. He said at present there were several small treatment facilities in T&T offered by the State and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Douglas said without the regulatory legislation or laws, those treatment facilities were not governed by any specific compulsory and inclusive regulatory mechanisms.
He said increased care was needed for youth and women. Douglas said according to a 2005 survey of youth correctional facilities, approximately half of all juvenile offenders on drug related charges reported current drug use. He added: “This data serves as a clear indication that provisions must be made to treat with adolescents, since there are no special facilities to accommodate this segment existing in T&T.”
Regarding female substance abusers, Douglas said research indicated that four out of ten women in T&T prisons reported drugs were connected in some way to their conviction. He said according to research 65.8 per cent of these women were involved in the drug trade. Douglas also announced that the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programme (NADAPP) would be moved soon under the portfolio of the Ministry of Community Development. He said that move was suggested under the previous administration. Douglas added: “I am confident this new alignment will reap benefits in terms of improved service delivery to the people of T&T.”
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