A 24-year-old man found dead in Henveiru Annaarumaage on April 1 less than 24 hours after his release from rehab tested positive for opiates, police have revealed.
“Analysis shows that there was a high concentration of the drugs opium and benzodiazepine in the youth’s urine,” police said in a statement yesterday.
Police media officials were not responding to calls at the time of press to confirm whether a heroin overdose has been established as the cause of death.
Local media identified the deceased last week as Mohamed Rashad from the island of Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaal atoll.
According to Rashad’s family, he was released from the rehabilitation centre in Himmafushi the day before his death.
“Mohamed was released yesterday, and he was staying with a friend at Annaarumaage until the community centre could make arrangements,” Rashad’s uncle was quoted as saying by Sun Online.
“His friend was there when I went to the house, who told me that Mohamed was still sleeping when he woke up. When we went and checked, he was dead.”
National Drug Agency (NDA) CEO Ahmed Muneer explained to the online news outlet that patients undergoing community treatment upon release from rehab were required to attend several classes.
Recovering addicts were required to stay in Malé until the process could be completed, Muneer said.
He also denied the family’s claim that they were not informed by the NDA of Rashad’s release.
Speaking at a ceremony held on Thursday to mark the second anniversary of the Drug Court, Acting Chief Judge Mahaz Ali expressed concern with the rehabilitation facilities available in the Maldives.
The NDA informed the Drug Court in April last year that all rehabilitation centres in the country were at full capacity, Mahaz revealed.
The main community centre in Malé was at full capacity at the start of this month, he continued, and could not accept more patients.
Since its formation in January 2012 with the enactment of the new Drugs Act, Mahaz said that 93 drug offenders had completed the court-mandated rehabilitation programme.
Of the 93 recovering addicts, Mahaz noted that only eight had been arrested again.
In March 2009, Minivan News reported the death of five drug addicts from overdose or suicide in the space of one month.
Four out of the five addicts had received treatment at the rehabilitation centre in Himmafushi.
Police revealed at the time that a forensic examination of confiscated drugs showed that heroin sold on the streets was laced with benzodiazepine, a class of psychoactive drugs.
The combination of benzodiazepine with opiates is known to lead to coma and even death.
According to local NGO Journey, about 95 per cent of addicts who seek rehabilitation in the country relapse into drug use.