Sale of narcotics locally not a major issue
Kaieteur News – February 05, 2006
With regards Kaieteur News editorial of Sunday 22 January, 2006, titled “Guyanese and the drug trade,” we beg to differ. The fourth paragraph states “The other thing that would give one the impression that the drug issue is of no consequence to this country is the paucity of drug addicts. Indeed Guyana does not have many cocaine addicts so the sale of drugs in this country cannot be a major issue.”
First we must take cognizance of the fact that there are two established drug rehabilitation centres in this our beloved country, namely The Salvation Army Drug Rehabilitation Programme and the Phoenix Recovery Project.
Presently the Salvation Army’s programme is running beyond capacity and as such had to expand and create a waiting list. This programme was established November 1996 and to date in excess of 650 persons have accessed treatment. Unfortunately both programmes cater for males only and we have been receiving inquiries on an ongoing basis for females seeking help for cocaine addiction.
There is also the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous which is in no way affiliated to the Salvation Army that enjoys a membership numbering in the hundreds in our beloved country. This fellowship acts as an adjunct to the treatment programmes.
Have you ever taken a walk through the Stabroek or Bourda markets? Well if you never did we would strongly suggest that you take a walk through those two markets and their immediate surroundings and see for yourself who are the persons that make up the labour force. But mind you these are not the only places that you will find such persons. Outside of the night clubs the CBJ airport and any place that has a high number of patrons, there are persons offering security services or washing services for your vehicle or just plain outright begging.
It is also important to note that we at the Salvation Army’s programme have had persons accessing treatment from the entire length and breadth of our beloved country.
Quite recently the head of the Solid Waste Management Unit of the Georgetown City Council alluded to the fact that “stray dogs and junkies” are posing problems for the municipality.
It is also important to note that Guyana has been deemed a major drugs transshipment point. Whenever this happens the persons providing services locally are paid with drugs and as such markets locally have to be found.
We hope this letter will elevate the awareness of the ills of this phenomenon, which is the scourge of the negative impact of the cocaine trade in our beloved country.
-Gordon Sealey, Ralph Turpin
Substance abuse counselors
Salvation Army Drug Rehabilitation Programme
Our conclusion that there is a paucity of drug addicts stems from the fact that less than one-half of one percent of the population are drug addicts. We however acknowledge the problem and appreciate the release of information hitherto not known by us.