National workshop focused on developing policies to combat illicit drug trade

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By Robert A. Emmanuel

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Croft believes the issue of the proliferation of illicit drug use and trafficking in Antigua and Barbuda must be urgently addressed.

The Director of the Organisation of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) made the remarks during the opening ceremony of the “National Workshop on the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) 2016 and CICAD Hemispheric Plan of Action on Drugs 2016 to 2020 to address the drug problem in the Caribbean” at the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) Training Grounds in Coolidge yesterday.

 “The scourge of drugs has had and continues to have its negative effects on the world, and the Caribbean is no exception. In Antigua and Barbuda, a study among the secondary school population in 2013 revealed that the country ranked second in the region regarding lifetime prevalence of the illegal use of drugs. Those findings also revealed that our country had the highest use of ecstasy in the region,” Lieutenant Colonel Croft said.

He also noted the “troubling” lack of resources focused towards addressing the illicit drug and substance use problem.

Meanwhile, Assistant Executive Secretary at the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, Angela Crowdy, explained that an objective for the workshop was to formulate data-driven solutions to tackle the issue of illicit drug use.

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