Ecstasy sold in schools

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By Bibi Khatoon

The Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) is investigating the sale and use of the synthetic drug ecstasy –commonly known as the “date rape” drug – in schools.

The drug is known to change mood and perception.

CANU’s Deputy Head Lesley Ramlall on Monday reported that during investigations carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the drug was found in five schools.

Speaking during the opening of the Unit’s annual training exercise at the National Racquet Centre on Monday morning, Ramlall noted that while the seizure of cannabis and cocaine continues to top the charts, the use of synthetic drugs are on the rise.

“This is certainly a new trend and a very worrying one for Guyana,” he said, adding there is an increased demand among the youth population.

From January to August 2018, the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit seized 250 grams of ecstasy, 304 grams of heroin and 100 grams of crystal meth.

Ramlall pinned the issue on “affluent people” who he said uses the drug for recreational purposes but it filters down to youths.

“This drug now seems to be the common narcotic that is readily available at nightclubs and parties,” he said.

Rampal said students are being educated on the dangers of the drug while efforts are being made to arrest the persons selling the drug to them.

Speaking with the media following the event, he explained that it is difficult to get to the large narcotics traders. However, he is urging other agencies to come onboard including the Guyana Revenue Authority, GRA.

“If GRA comes onboard, we may not be able to get you for narcotics charge but we will get you for tax evasion, which is the only way we will be able to bring down this entire narcotics empire.”

 

Pubic Security Minister (Center Left) and CANU’s Deputy Head Lesley Ramlall (Center Right) along with other officials

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan during his address condemned the act of selling synthetic drugs to children. “When it is going this far into introducing drugs in schools…we have to do something about it.”

 

He later called on parents to join in the fight against this growing problem.

“We generally deal with a law enforcement aspect, but Law Enforcement is just one area that will help in this drive. We have to start changing the culture of Guyanese in relation to alcohol, illicit drugs and licit drug. To see it in school means we are losing the battle,” the Public Security Minister said.

As such, he noted that “parents have to have a little more discipline in what their children do and do not do…I am pleading with people, be a little more caring to your children, see what they do and what they do not.”

As it relates to other drugs, CANU seized 161 kilograms of cannabis and 534 kilograms of Cannabis from January to August, 2018.

According to CANU, the total value of the synthetic drugs along with Marijuana and Cannabis, amounted to over $141M.

The Training session for CANU officers is being held under the theme: “Stemming the flow of narcotics through capacity building and inter agency collaborations.”

The ranks were urged by the Public Security Minister to remain professional in their daily duties and continue work to work to curb drug trafficking which he said can corrupt the judiciary and governments.

“There is huge profit in the thing and they payoffs as a result of the thing, can even seep into the judiciary and in the political administration too, in the police and even in units that are formed to do law enforcement in relation to this,” he explained.

A total of 92 ranks are a part of the training.

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