Authorities in Seychelles have seized 5.63 kg of heroin in 2018, the designated minister said while answering questions in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Macsuzy Mondon said that although the amount is alarming, the local authorities remain committed to tackling the issue of illicit drugs, hence deterring dealers and traffickers.
Three urgent questions were asked to the designated minister by the Leader of the Government Business in the National Assembly, Charles de Commarmond. These included how much heroin have been seized since January 2017, how much heroin is in circulation based on consumption and what is being done by the local authorities to address it.
“Heroin and cannabis are the only two main types of drugs which have been seized in Seychelles. There were two cocaine-related arrests made, one in 2011 and one this year. This is a rare type of drug entering the country,” said Mondon.
The designated minister said that so far there is no evidence to show that Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is producing dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.
The questions came as a follow up to the presentation made by the designated minister on the report of a respondent-driven survey entitled ‘Seychelles Biological and Behavioural Surveillance of Heroin Users of 2017.” According to the survey, the number of heroin users in Seychelles from 15 years and above is around 4,800, which equals 5.6 percent of the population.
Asked how much drugs are in circulation in Seychelles, Mondon said that it is difficult to know the exact amount.
“But we can do a deduction by using a formula. For example, if an individual heroin user is consuming 0.03 grammes of heroin per day and if we multiply it with the total number of heroin users — 4,800 — this will mean that 144 grammes are in circulation per day,” she said.
Mondon said that it is important to note that illegal drugs are entering the country through the port and airport. She said that a large amount is being circulated at sea through marine activities.
Seychelles made several illegal drug arrests this year mostly coming through the airport.
Local authorities have detected approximately 300 black spots on the three most populated islands of Seychelles, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, where illegal activities are taking place.
On the question what is being done to address the situation, Mondon said that the Anti-Narcotics Bureau and its partners in the Indian Ocean are actively engaged to investigate and share information on the activities of dealers and traffickers.
She added that one of the major challenges is that some countries in the region are putting less attention on drugs and focusing more on piracy and terrorist activities.