“How to escape from the hell of synthetic drugs? “. This was the theme of the program Au coeur de l’info, hosted by Nawaz Noorbux, on Radio Plus on Friday. During his speech, Dr Tauckoor Luxmi, addictologist at the Harm Reduction Unit of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, made it clear that there are centers across the country, but that there are no There are not enough qualified personnel in this specific field.

“There is a need for detoxification and rehabilitation centers to treat patients with synthetic drug addiction, as well as trained staff. The government is creating more drug treatment centers to treat people suffering from addiction. A center has recently been created at the Yves Cantin hospital in Rivière-Noire to meet demand in the west of the country. The ministry is in the process of recruiting doctors who are willing to work in the Harm Reduction Unit. Around twenty doctors have also been hired since the start of the year, and 50% of them have followed specific training with Reunion addictologist David Mété. They received their diplomas this year,” explained Dr. Tauckoor Luxmi, addictologist at the Harm Reduction Unit of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, during his intervention.

Jose Ah-Choon.
Jose Ah-Choon

The latter then recalled that the ministry provides a psychotherapy service, including family and group therapy during rehabilitation sessions. “We do our therapies with the means at hand. The staff is motivated and we train them so that they can treat various pathologies,” he explains.

Revisiting the awareness strategy

Are there enough psychologists and professionals to work with drug addicts? “Two psychiatrists are doing their best, as well as four psychologists. The latter need to be trained to treat patients with addiction problems. We lack this specific skill,” says Dr Tauckoor Luxmi. He believes that the prevention programme and the communication strategy may need to be reviewed.

Dr Siddick Maudarbaccus.
Dr Siddick Maudarbaccus.

Dr Siddick Maudarbocus shares this opinion and suggests revisiting the awareness strategy by focusing on technology. “We need to approach influencers so that they can convey deep and poignant messages on social media, rather than running one-day awareness campaigns,” he suggests. Dr. Tauckoor Luxmi also agrees.

More than 60,000 young drug addicts

According to social worker Jose Ah-Choon, “more than 60,000 young people are synthetic drug users in the country.” “The authorities are powerless to deal with the situation. No one is spared from this scourge, even the children of VVIPs are addicted to synthetic drugs,” he laments. Jose Ah-Choon also claims that traffickers incorporate unknown substances, even garbage, into these drugs.

However, Dr Tauckoor Luxmi qualifies these statements. “We do not have data confirming that there are about 60,000 young people addicted to synthetic substances in the country,” he retorts. The addiction specialist nevertheless indicates that about 100 patients are detoxified each year in the various centers across the country.

Peer pressure, boredom…

According to Dr Tauckoor Luxmi, young people are often influenced by social media, peer pressure and boredom. “The success rate of treatments is 50/50. Rehabilitation and counseling sessions are two very important elements to avoid relapses. In the event of a relapse, it is imperative to contact the ministry,” he explains.

Jose Ah-Choon, for his part, emphasizes that “drug addiction is an incurable disease.” “The police are becoming powerless in the face of this magnitude. 'A country with a lake for a sintetic. A family with a lot of money and a salary of 1,000 rupees per day,” he points out.

Treatment protocol

Dr. Siddick Maudarbocus, founder and director of Les Mariannes Wellness Sanctuary, maintains that everyone suffering from addiction carries a heavy past. “All drugs have a treatment protocol, but this is not the case for synthetic drugs. Psychological therapy begins a few days after admission. Dialogue is the best approach. We failed on many points: teachers, parents. Drugs remain a taboo subject,” he says.

Are synthetic substances more addictive? “In 2023, the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) website has listed 1,240 synthetic drugs available in more than 140 countries around the world,” says Dr. Tauckoor Luxmi. The addictologist also claims that a new synthetic substance is created every week in clandestine laboratories.

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