The Minister of Health revealed the number of young drug users admitted to hospital in 2023. Dr Kailesh Jagutpal was responding to a question from MMM MP Franco Quirin.

In 2023, 55 young people, aged 15 to 19, were hospitalized for drug use in regional hospitals. 46 adolescents, including 44 boys and two girls, benefited from rehabilitation and/or detoxification treatment. However, most of them relapsed within weeks or months of their treatment, Health Minister Dr Kailesh Jagutpal responded to a question from Franco Quirin (MMM) regarding the use of methadone as a means of treatment among drug users.

“Young people are the most vulnerable to drug use and are also the most seriously affected. The adolescent brain is still developing, and drug use can have long-term negative effects. Overdoses are much more common among adolescents,” stressed Jagutpal.

Noting the extent of drug addiction across the world, the Minister of Health added that Mauritius is faced with the same situation and the same health risks, including HIV, the risk of which is 35 times higher. among drug injectors. Which can lead to other health problems like hepatitis C.

Citing figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), Minister Jagutpal highlighted that 23% of new cases of hepatitis C are among intravenous drug users through dirty syringes. He also said that “liver disease attributed to hepatitis C accounts for more than half of drug-related deaths, while drug overdoses account for a quarter of drug-related deaths.”

It is with this in mind that, on the recommendation of the 2023 report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Ministry of Health adopted this measure. “The UN organization has in fact given its approval for the use of methadone as a means of treatment for young people aged 15 and over who have a serious drug problem and find themselves in a therapeutic impasse after the failure of other means,” clarified Minister Jagutpal. He also explained that a national protocol was put in place by a group of professionals, which was endorsed by Dr David Mété, Head of the Addictology Department, at the Bellepierre University Hospital Center on Reunion Island.


“The protocol does not concern all adolescent drug injectors, but those who, despite one or two withdrawal treatments, accompanied by psychosocial support, have relapsed into severe addiction and find themselves in a therapeutic impasse,” affirmed the Minister Jagutpal.

He also stressed that “the consent of parents or legal guardians will be mandatory for minors before their registration in the methadone substitution therapy program.” This program will also include psychosocial support, as is the case for adult beneficiaries of this type of program, he said.

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