BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (SKNIS) – The St. Kitts and Nevis National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention is taking concrete steps to tackle drug abuse and its impacts on the society, and continues to solicit feedback from relevant stakeholders on the development of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Drug Plan 2023-2028.
The Council held its third Round of Consultations today, Thursday, April 13, 2023, at the NEMA Conference Room. It brought together stakeholders from various fields and departments for robust discussions on developing the 5-year action plan and identifying opportunities for collaboration across stakeholders.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Ms. Cecile Hull said the development of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Drug Plan will guide the country along its path toward full abuse prevention and widespread awareness.
Permanent Secretary Hull said, “The National Drug Policy is one of the supporting tools that bolster the Ministry of National Security’s efforts to curb substance misuse and illegal drug trafficking. It outlines the country’s overarching goals and strategic action steps to attain realistic medium to long-term objectives in the following thematic areas: institutional strengthening; measures of prevention; treatment and recovery support; measures to control and counter illicit cultivation, production, trafficking, and distribution of drugs to address their causes and consequences. Then there is the monitoring and evaluation, which in previous times was often ignored but has been proven to be an essential thematic area to ensure continuous quality improvement.”
In delivering brief remarks, Vice-Chairperson of the National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention, Mr. Michael Morton stressed to the stakeholders the importance of their participation in the forum.
He said, “Your attendance here today is a sign of your interest and commitment to aid in the development of action steps that will prevent and abate the plague that is quickly crippling us as a society. The plague I speak of is that of the misuse and illegal trafficking of substances that is often accompanied by violence, criminal activities, and of course public health challenges, just to list a few. We all will agree that the misuse and the illegal trafficking of substances are only counter-productive to national development and the overall wellbeing of our beloved St. Christopher and Nevis.”
In October 2022, experts at the Institutional Strengthening Unit of the Organization of the American States (OAS) supported the initiative with virtual and in-country consultations where stakeholders contributed to outlining the main goals and objectives for the national drug plan.
Consultant within the Institutional Strengthening Unit of the OAS, Ms. Esther Best, addressing Thursday’s consultation virtually, said the development of national drug policies is critically important for countries to combat and prevent the abuse of substances. She also pledged the continued support of her unit to the completion of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Drug Plan 2023-2028.
“A national strategy is important to guide the activities of your drug control agencies, but more importantly to encourage greater collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders, and this is why this activity is so important. We at the Institutional Strengthening Unit are committed towards supporting you through this process and have already undertaken a mission to St. Kitts and Nevis back in October to guide the initial steps through which this will be done. We have continued to support you over the intervening period by reviewing documents and providing additional inputs. I want all agencies to be assured that we are here in the beginning, and we will continue to support this process throughout,” said Ms. Best.
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) has also lent its support to the development of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Drug Plan by hiring an independent consultant to complete the Situational Analysis.