Experts from the EU Action against Drugs and Organised Crime (EU-ACT) carried out a preliminary mission to assess the drugs situation in Seychelles — the first of its kind to be undertaken in the country.
The international cooperation officer at the Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation (APDAR), Aruna Sunasee, told SNA on Friday that the assessment was to look at supply reduction and drug demand reduction.
“With regards to supply reduction the experts were looking at trafficking, the different policies in place and existing gaps, whereas for drug treatment reduction, the experts were looking at treatment, rehabilitation, aftercare programmes, and role of the different non-governmental organisations,” she said.
The EU mission met with key institutions and agencies within the government and also with the civil society for consultations on both the drug demand and supply reduction. A report with recommendations to the Seychelles’ government will be produced by the team of experts.
Sunasee said that the recommendation will help Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, to improve its structures and policies helping to combat drugs.
Heroin found in a parcel coming in Seychelles through the post office last year. (Anti-Narcotics Bureau) Photo License: CC-BY
Research conducted by APDAR in 2017 showed that there are around 5,000 heroin users in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean with a population of 95,000.
As part of the prevention and rehabilitation of heroin users, a methadone programme has been put in place at the agency’s aftercare service. Around 40 percent of users following the programme has been completely clean.
The EU mission was mobilised following Seychelles’ President Danny Faure’s request for assistance in combatting drugs during the European Union (EU) and Seychelles’ political dialogue last November.
During the dialogue “the EU reiterated its commitment to support Seychelles in the fight against drugs,” said Marjaana Sall, the EU ambassador to Seychelles.
She added that this is a concrete example of the longstanding and solid partnership between the EU and Seychelles.
The EU-ACT programme of $13.4 million is financed under the Stability and Peace Instrument in line with the EU Drugs Strategy (2013-2020). Its objective is to build capacities to increase regional and trans-regional law enforcement cooperation and coordination in the fight against organised crime and trafficking activities along the heroin route. The programme also supports the development of drugs policy and drug demand reduction activities.
Seychelles’ Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Barry Faure, said, “The range of expertise of the assessment team reflects the multidimensional nature of the drug problem and the need for all ministries, departments and agencies to work together to intensify our fight against drugs. It also shows the concern shared by Seychelles and the EU and the commitment to our continued partnership.”
Source: Seychelles News Agency