Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson has warned of the negative impact of illegal drugs on this island’s productivity.
Addressing’s yesterday’s graduation ceremony for the first Drug Treatment Court (DTC) Programme, Sir Marston warned that there was “a body of scientific evidence which says that addiction of any kind actually rewires the brain . . . and reduces your productivity”.
Therefore when persons say they “cannot help themselves”, it was understandable since kicking the habit was difficult, he said.
“You are reacting to what your new brain is telling you,” Sir Marston told the graduates.
The Chief Justice also revealed that a juvenile Drug Treatment Court could be the next pilot project on the agenda for Barbados, saying, “if we can capture [young drug abusers] at that point, then we can stop them from falling off the wagon.”
Furthermore, “there is a new way of doing things at Whitepark Road,” Sir Marston said.
“We are not just going to hand down sentences and impose fines. We have sought to help you rewire your brain.”
Gibson also expressed the view that the illegal drug situation on the island “is our problem” and to that end, everything possible should be done to address it.
“The way to deal with that is treatment, not incarceration,” he said.
Barbados’ head judge thanked the inaugural participants of the DTC programme “for having faith in us, to be able to help you.
“As you seek to recapture your life, it will get better,” he assured them.
Participants of the DTC programme were chosen from among persons who had committed non-violent offences under the influence of drugs.
Over the past year, the programme included intense counselling, support group sessions, random drug testing and monthly review sessions before the Court’s Steering Committee.