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Social Development and Services Minister Donna Cox, left, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and Case Care Management Chief Probation Officer, Sintra Maharaj, during the launch of the Case Care Management Pilot project at Ansa Building, corner Queen and Henry Streets, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has made a stern appeal for the police service to crack down on drug blocks around the country. Minister Hinds made the comment on Wednesday as he delivered the feature address at the launch of the Case Care Management pilot project.

The initiative promotes alternatives to incarceration for individuals with substance use disorders facing minor or non-violent drug-related or other criminal charges. The programme has been identified as having the potential to benefit the criminal justice system by providing treatment to rehabilitate offenders and reintegrate them into society.

Illicit narco-trafficking has long been linked to fuelling crime in this country, Minister Hinds said the police must do more to combat the scourge of drug blocks in communities.

According to him, “There are obvious drug blocks in Trinidad and Tobago where every citizen including our toddlers see on a daily basis, the lines of afflicted human beings going to get their fix and go back. In addition to that, the police service has a role to intervene, to interdict and to, let me put it in colloquial terms, mash up them drug blocks, it’s as simple as that.”

Minister Hinds assured that despite reports pointing to this country’s porous borders as being responsible for the continued drug trade, it remains high on his ministry’s radar.

“This two-year pilot project is being launched at a time both timely and opportune and is being launched at a time when countries all over the globe battle daily with the transhipment of illicit narcotics, human trafficking. For that reason, border control and management is a high priority of the government of Trinidad and Tobago.”

The Case Care Management Project is a collaboration between the Probation Services Division and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission. The system seeks to enhance the coordination amongst the justice, health and social systems to assist with people’s recovery.

ES-CICAD Executive Secretary Adam Namm said the project was aimed at providing an all-embracing system of care for people with substance abuse disorders.

“It will provide the needed interventions to facilitate the most positive outcomes from participating drug offenders in the areas of reduced substance use, increased positive functioning in all areas of their lives and a reduction in recidivism,” Namm said.

Social Development and Family Services Minister Donna Cox also acknowledged the cost-saving benefits that are associated with the programme and its ability to further reduce the country’s prisons population.