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Drugs data released

Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Attorney-General expressed concerns about the drug market in Bermuda yesterday.

Kathy Lynn Simmons told the Senate: “The drug market is still very much active in Bermuda as persons who sought drug treatment, or have been offenders of the law have reported that their primary drug of choice remains available and accessible.”

Ms Simmons was making a ministerial statement on the 2018 Annual Report of the Bermuda Drug Information Network, which provides comparative drug-related data for 2016 and 2017.

She told senators that since the 2017 report, alcohol and cannabis were still the most widely used drugs on the island.

Ms Simmons added: “The good news is that crime continues to decline.”

She said there has been a decrease in alcohol and drug-related crime and a decrease in criminal trials for cannabis and cocaine possession with the intent to supply.

Ms Simmons said: “Poly drug use remains ever present; especially among people involved in the criminal justice system, who reported using some combination of crack cocaine, opiates and marijuana.”

She pointed out that assessments done by the Bermuda Assessment and Referral Centre showed that opiates, alcohol, heroin, cocaine and cannabis were the primary substances of choice among 530 people who sought treatment for the past two years.

Ms Simmons said there was a 16.3 per cent increase in the number of people who sought treatment for Cannabis and a 6.1 per cent increase for alcohol in 2017.

Many of these met the clinical criteria for dependence or abuse of these substances.

Ms Simmons said 56 people were clinically diagnosed in 2016 and 67 in 2017 as having substantial to severe substance abuse dependence.

The majority of the people referred for substance abuse treatment in 2017 were men, 82.3 per cent, with 67.4 per cent of them repeat cases.

People of African ethnicity represented 56 per cent of those treated.

Ms Simmons said while there were fewer seizures of synthetic drugs in 2017, police seized large amounts of cannabis edibles and plants in 2017.

The government lab reported that 778.8 grams of cannabis edibles were seized in 2017.

Ms Simmons said drug use is a difficult and complex phenomenon to monitor, but the BerDIN report provides a comprehensive overview of the drug situation using multiple sources and indicators to provide insight into the problem.

Ms Simmons said the BerDIN report monitors and accounts for local drug-related information from 18 agencies and departments that deal with treatment, prevention, interdiction and enforcement.