Workshop focuses on alternative approach to drug offenders

Local and regional partners attending the two-day workshop (Photo courtesy Legal Affairs)

Officials from the Ministry of Social Transformation and other regional partners gathered at the Inland Revenue Department’s Conference room on Wednesday for the launch of  a two-day workshop on the Implementation of Drug Treatment Courts as an alternative to incarceration for Drug Dependent Offenders.

The working sessions began on Thursday and will conclude later today.

Director of Public Prosecutions of Antigua and Barbuda, Anthony Armstrong, in his brief remarks, stressed the importance of pooling resources to ensure that the transition is a success.

Armstrong explained that the Drug Treatment Court will be the first of its kind to be established in the Eastern Caribbean, adding that the court will assist in treating drug addicts and the sound development of strategies.

He also thanked the Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin and the Ministry of Legal Affairs for pledging their full support for the establishment of the unique court which will prove beneficial for the judicial system in Antigua and Barbuda.

Coordinator, Health and Human and Social Development Directorate CARICOM, Beverly Reynolds indicated that the initiative is being implemented under the 10th EDF CARIFORUM Crime and Security Cooperation Programme – Support for Drug Demand Reduction Project aimed at strengthening institutional responses while broadening the capabilities of practitioners and professionals engaged in the field of drug demand reduction.

She added that the programme would provide structured, consistent, monitored and supported interventions to offenders whose petty crimes are associated with or driven by drug addiction. It would also provide an ethical response to the illness condition.

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