Remarks at Regional Meeting of Caribbean Drug Information Networks

Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires John McIntyre
Regional Meeting of Caribbean Drug Information Networks
T&T Police Training Academy

September 20, 2017

I am happy to be here today for the opening of the regional seminar on drug treatment and drug information networks in the Caribbean.

To those participants from islands devastated by Hurricane Irma, please accept our condolences.  U.S. Agency for International Development disaster experts are now on the ground in a number of the islands coordinating with local authorities, assessing needs, and distributing critical relief supplies.

I want to thank Ambassador Namm and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, The Caribbean Community Secretariat, and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for hosting this seminar.

The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement are happy to contribute to make this event a success.

We consider it part of our long-standing commitment to reduce the production, trafficking, and use of illegal drugs, not only here in Trinidad and Tobago, but also throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

It is essential that public health, law enforcement, and statistic-collection-and-analysis entities work hand-in-hand to formulate evidence-based international drug policy recommendations.

An integrated approach will help OAS and CARICOM member states identify strengths and areas for improvement in their drug control efforts.

Good policy derives from good data. As governments confront growing resource constraints, the need to develop efficient means to gather and analyze accurate data will only become more urgent.

Nowhere is this need more evident than in working to address the world’s drug problem.

The ongoing opioid crisis and the rise in the production and use of synthetic drugs and their precursor chemicals, demonstrates the global drug problem is always shifting.

We need good data to understand the problem accurately, so that policy-makers, legislators, and stakeholders can come together to craft the appropriate responses.

For that reason, I welcome this seminar’s focus on strengthening the capacity of regional drug information networks in the Caribbean to gather and analyze drug-related information.

I wish you all a successful week and look forward to hearing about this seminar’s outcomes.

Thank you.