July 8, 2008

Anti-Drug Campaign Gains Momentum in Seychelles

Text of report in English by Seychelles Nation newspaper website on 5 July

[Unattributed report: "Cares War on Drugs Gains Momentum"]

Care [Campaign for Awareness, Resilience and Education] is mobilising people in all sectors of the community to be part of the war on drugs, Noella Gontier, the organization's director, has said.

"We are continuing with our community mobilisation programme because the drug situation is alarming and we are asking citizens to wake up against drugs," said Mrs Gontier, who heads the Campaign for Awareness, Resilience and Education against substance abuse (Care).

"We have opted for the community approach, telling people there is something we as citizens, communities and families can do with the assistance of the police."

She said people often have valuable information that can help the police fight the problem but do not share it with the department.

She said Care is talking with the police to make it easier for people to report cases of drug trafficking without being identified or asked to be involved in investigations or prosecutions. Efforts are also being made to seal prosecution loopholes to ensure those who sell drugs are convicted.

"We in the community have the power to fight the problem," said Mrs Gontier, a founder of Care.

A series of talks and focus group discussions have been organized this month with youth workers, the police and district administrators.

The director said Care will invite people from countries that are badly affected by the substance abuse problem to see what went wrong, and also others from relatively drug-free nations to hear how come the situation there is under control.

She said the new programme also involves talks with nurses, their coordinators and environmental health officers to see how they can help.

Mrs Gontier told Family Life a number of young people have successfully introduced safe activities at "drug spots", replacing the sale of harmful substances at those points, a trend Care welcomes and would like to encourage in other places.

Originally published by Seychelles Nation website, Victoria, in English 5 Jul 08.

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