Mauritius is a country blessed with many natural resources, warm smiles and what have we got? A land like no other! But most unfortunately, this land and its youth are being gradually invaded by one of the worst social evils—that of drug abuse. There is an urgent need to save Mauritius and our children from the claws of drug barons in this country. Have we got the will and guts to get rid of them?
The causes of drug addiction are many and include increased availability of drugs, expansion of communication, socio-economic factors, migration and rapid urbanization, changes in attitude and values towards society, community, family, religion, morality and the ruthless exploitation of fellow human beings by drug traffickers
Social costs are heavy and are due to drug crimes and diseases, increasing poverty among addicts, overcrowded prisons, social and family disruption and human suffering to name a few.
Since the high-risk group is primarily in the 15-35 years category, the loss in manpower and productivity as a result, is enormous. Cannabis, heroin and opium amongst other types of drugs are very effectively ‘marketed’ to the country’s future generation.
The strategies adopted are such that those who are vulnerable are lured into this vortex that sucks them in—and invariably keeps them there—sadly , many of them take this time of least resistance whilst a handful are fortunate enough to get themselves out of this quagmire.
Government need to desperately formulate and review its national policy on drugs. This would primarily be treating drug addicts, rehabilitating and mooting preventive education. So far they should get involved with the day to day enforcement activities. Once they do that, it will combat the infiltration of drugs in certain ghettoes of our country.
It is an accepted fact that no country can solve this problem in isolation. So our government need also to actively engage in formal international co-operation through bi-lateral regional and international collaboration. We say this because our government is a member to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the Amending Protocol 1972.
More and more youngsters are taking soft and hard drugs. To a nation that firmly believes that its citizens have a right to a decent life with moral, humanitarian and spiritual values in a healthy and safe environment, this is a matter of grave concern.
It is vital that all agencies of government and non-government organizations (NGO’s) work in tandem with regard to enforcing laws to reduce, if not totally eliminate the availability and distribution of illicit drugs.
Let us hope and pray that in the years to come we shall see a drastic reduction in the number of drug addicts. Hope is one thing but reality is another matter. As long as we have self-interest politicians, an inefficient police force and certain money-minded so called “do-gooders” just to be on the limelight, we fear the worst to come.
Last but not least, in an effort to further raise awareness about helping thousands of families whose lives have been torn apart by drug abuse both government and NGO’s should work together and with other stakeholders if possible towards innovative and effective policy solutions that address prevention, treatment and more in order to help every community to overcome this devastating problem. There is a great deal that can be done to combat drug abuse through massive awareness, education, constant talks by experts in schools and colleges, and organizing regional seminars just to name a few.