Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite (FP)

As the region continues its battle with the sale and use of illegal drugs, a senior official of the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) is calling for solid inter-agency collaboration, especially as it relates to the illegal trade of drugs over the internet.

Commenting on the growing trend of the sale of drugs via the World Wide Web, Manager of the NCSA, Yolande Forde, said that "while digital accessibility has created new methods of conducting legitimate business, there is no doubt that it is also a mechanism for conducting illegitimate business."

She was speaking this morning at the opening ceremony of the first regional training seminar on the Investigation of the Sale of Drugs over the Internet at Hilton Barbados.

Ms. Forde stated that the four-day seminar, which is being facilitated by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organisation of American States and the NCSA, was a forum that would facilitate practical instruction on the methods and techniques used in the sale of drugs.?? In addition, she pointed out that regional counterparts needed to be well-versed and well trained in the latest methods of investigation and interception.

"The internet has evolved into a virtual marketplace to sell any and everything.?? Transactions that are already illegal in the non-wired world or on the ground, so to speak, are being facilitated via the net.?? In relation to this seminar specifically, these transactions include the marketing of prescription drugs for sale without a valid prescription, unapproved new drugs, counterfeit drugs, and illicit drugs.?? And, in this whole scenario, the unique qualities of the Internet, such as its limitless reach and its

capacity for maintaining anonymity, pose new challenges for the enforcement of existing laws," the Manager surmised.

Meanwhile, Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, who gave the feature address at the Opening Ceremony, maintained that the use of "technology to commit cybercrime is already a major problem all over the world and it is now among the world’s fastest growing crimes." ??He added that this problem was too big and too widespread to be left only to politicians, and those in law enforcement to address.

The Attorney General pointed out that while there were advantages to buying prescription drugs over the Internet, for example, lower prices and convenience, he explained that it had also "opened new opportunities for unscrupulous individuals to prey on persons, especially our youth".

He continued: "The large number of young persons accessing the Internet has encouraged illegitimate entrepreneurs, including dealers of illicit drugs, to sell and market their products to young people through this powerful medium, and this presents serious danger."

Mr. Brathwaite revealed that through technical assistance provided by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), this country has re-launched its Barbados Drug Information Network, which is an integrated data collection and information- sharing network.??

??"The NCSA, which has been designated by the CICAD as Barbados’ national coordinating agency, has responsibility for managing both of these processes. I am, therefore, specifically calling on the relevant partners to make information readily available to the NSCA, so that policies and legislation can be developed and tailored to address the complex problem of drugs," he said.


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