The National Drug Agency (NDA) has signed agreements with three rehabilitation centres in India – two in Chennai and one in Bangalore – to provide treatment to Maldivian drug addicts.
At a press conference today, NDA board member Ali Shahid Mohamed noted the government was offering rehabilitation opportunities overseas for Maldivians for the first time.
Addicts could now apply to receive treatment at the Indian rehab centres, he said, adding that the cost would have to borne by the patients.
The selected centres provide a high quality of treatment with qualified counsellors and good facilities, he said.
Since it began hearing cases in August 2012, the Drug Court ordered 524 individuals to undergo rehabilitation as of April.
The Drug Court was formed under the new Drugs Act passed by parliament in December 2011 as part of a policy shift away from taking a punitive approach against small-scale drug offences.
Cases of drug users or pedlars caught with less than three grams of illicit narcotics were to be handled by the specialised court.
The NDA informed the Drug Court in April last year that all rehabilitation centres in the country were at full capacity.