With the Barbados Drug Treatment Court pilot project now under way, Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, is calling for monthly messages on drug awareness and a greater focus to be placed on treating those already in prison.
He made this call today as he joined the staff of the National Council on Substance Abuse to officially open their new office in the Armaira building at the corner of 1st Avenue, Belleville, and Pine Road, St. Michael.
Noting that work on the Barbados Drug Treatment Court started two years ago, the Minister said: ???It was a great sense of satisfaction on Wednesday [January 14] that we had the first sitting of the court.???
But, recognising that there were those who still questioned the effectiveness of such courts, Mr. Brathwaite re-emphasised that it was better to treat the root cause of an individual becoming involved in crime than to send them to prison.
???We will look to see how we can intervene more with individuals within the prison system to assist more individuals who are abusers of legal and illegal substances. There is no use them being in prison and coming back out, and the first thing they do is go back out on to the block and start all over again. We need to address that vicious cycle,??? the Minister contended.
He further stressed that those involved in the fight against drugs were aware of the real issues, and it was therefore important to see how best a team approach could be applied in addressing them.
Mr. Brathwaite explained that problems facing substance abusers include housing and family challenges. ???Therefore, we need to get all the partners involved,??? he stressed, while also calling on the media to spread the message.
He also issued the challenge that Drug Awareness Month should be recognised monthly, and not just in January, to keep the message in the public domain.
???I know we have Project SOFT, [and the] Probation [Department] has its own programmes, and the National Task Force [on Crime Prevention] has its own programmes???but we need holistically to continue to let the public know what we are doing and let them know that without our efforts there would be more suffering in society,??? the Attorney General pointed out.