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The Cabinet of Ministers has addressed the alarming drug use and drug-related health issues in the Seychelles

prison revealed by a study which found that 92% of inmates are drug users while 25% are HIV positive and

over 40% have Hepatitis C, according to a report on SBC TV.

In its response, the Cabinet has not addressed the obviously disastrous security failures revealed by the

statistics. It has only endorsed a recommendation of the Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and

Rehabilitation (APDAR) to introduce a methadone program in the prison as of next year, and to consider a

needle exchange program.

The level of drug use reported in what is supposed to be a securely controlled environment, and the health

consequences that are being attributed to it, represent a major menace not only for the inmates but for the

people of Seychelles as a whole, since they will in due course become part of the general population.

An alarming aspect of the situation is that sentencing any person to prison, in addition to the punishment of

incarceration, is also a condemnation to drug addiction and to potentially fatal health threats. Our prison

system is not only failing in its duty towards rehabilitation of offenders, but quite the opposite, putting them

in harm’s way and escalating the scale of the problem for society.

The Cabinet position reported by SBC is inadequate and irresponsible because it does not address the root

cause of the problem. While we can accept that methadone and needle exchange are useful resources in drug

rehabilitation and harm reduction if they are managed properly, they do not replace necessary measures to

prevent or curtail access to drugs in prison. By themselves they risk expanding the reliance on drugs rather

than curtailing it.

It is to be noted that the Budget allocations for the Prison Department and for APDAR have been recently

presented to the National Assembly without an acknowledgement of the scale of this problem, which should

be a subject for larger debate and consideration.

LDS urges President Danny Faure and the Cabinet of Ministers to look again at the issues involved in order to

better protect inmates and our society from drug addiction and its health consequences.


LDS Secretariat

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