Barbados will officially launch a Drug Treatment Court on Tuesday, February 11, at the Supreme Court Complex, White Park Road, St. Michael.

During the opening ceremony, Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, will deliver the keynote address, while Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS), Paul Simons, will present a report on the drug problem in the Americas.

There will also be presentations by Chairman of the Drug Treatment Court Steering Committee, Justice Randall Worrell, while Chief Justice of Barbados, Sir Marston Gibson, will launch the court.

Barbados signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2013 with CICAD to participate in a hemispheric project to promote drug treatment courts and similar court-supervised treatment alternatives to incarceration.

Drug treatment courts provide a structured, intensive and demanding intervention, in which drug-abusing offenders are held accountable for their behaviour.

A joint statement from the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) and the OAS, said: ???Drug treatment courts divert substance-abusing offenders from prison into treatment and rehabilitation programmes under judicial supervision.???

It added that increasing direct supervision of offenders, coordinating public resources, and expediting case processing, treatment alternatives to incarceration may serve to help break the cycle of criminal behaviour, alcohol and drug use and imprisonment.

The statement noted that countries where drug treatment courts were introduced had seen a measurable reduction in the incidence of recidivism in the drug-abusing criminal population, and in the backlog of the criminal justice system. There was also a noted increase in public safety.

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