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The Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy recognizes the importance of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – a day which serves as motivation to every nation to strengthen action and cooperation in order to achieve a world free of drug abuse.

The Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy continues to work closely with its partners in the Drug Information Network which comprises of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda; the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force; the Ministry of Public Safety; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Ministry of Education; the Customs and Excise Division; the Immigration Department; Her Majesty’s Prison; the Substance-Use Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation Center; Gender Affairs and all medical establishments to keep the nation safe from threats related to drug supply and misuse.

It is well known that criminals are innovative. Consequently, this cooperation and determination amongst stakeholders will allow law enforcement and rehabilitation organizations to be more effective in reducing the supply and consumption of illicit substances, and provide the impetus for meeting the dynamic challenges posed by drug traffickers head-on.

The Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is one such situation where our law enforcement agencies and rehabilitation partners continue to be vigilant in order to protect our nation. Locally, the Substance-Use Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation Center (SPARC) has noted an increase in the number of alcohol purchases at supermarkets during the pandemic. With respect to drug consumption on an international level, the United Nations suggests that the production and trafficking of drugs have been negatively affected by the pandemic. As a result, they have stated that “drug shortages have been reported and could have negative health consequences for people with drug use disorders”.

The ONDCP, along with its partners, continues to do what is necessary to keep the borders of Antigua and Barbuda safe from new and emerging threats related to the trafficking of drugs. We urge the public to abstain from drug abuse and misuse, and to be mindful of the threats that these activities pose, especially during this pandemic. Abstinence from sharing glasses, pipes, needles and other drug-related paraphernalia will help to diminish the spread of this virus and will keep us all safer and healthier.