Fri | Mar 5, 2021

Justice Ministry renews support for Drug Treatment Court and Rehabilitation Programme

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2021 | 4:24 PM
Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck (file photo)

The Justice Ministry has renewed its support for the Drug Treatment Court and Rehabilitation Programme with the signing of another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA).

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, who signed the Agreement on Wednesday, January 20, said the Programme with NCDA, which began in 2015, has yielded much success in rehabilitating participants.

“The Parish Court Judges in the drug treatment courts have referred many cases to the rehabilitation treatment programme and they have been asking for more opportunities for addicts to get help and avoid getting a criminal record,” he said.

Executive Director of the National Council on Drug Abuse, Michael Tucker underscored the importance of the programme.

“Drug addiction has to be treated as an illness. Incarceration without adequate treatment and rehabilitation doesn’t really help, as the addiction continues. Therefore, this is a programme that recognises that this a health issue and the approach assists people to return to constructive and useful members of society,” he said.

The Ministries of National Security and the Ministry of Health and Wellness are also signatories to the Agreement which covers the period January 2021 to January 2024.

Under the renewed MoU, the Justice Ministry will continue to provide policy support and direction for the Drug Court and facilitate early assignment of Defence Counsels. The Ministry will also collaborate with the Judiciary through the Court Administration Division.

At present, there are five Drug Courts across the island. They provide treatment and rehabilitation of drug-dependent offenders.

The Ministry says approximately 500 people have benefited from the Programme since the first MoU was signed.

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