Prison service marks two years of methadone service for inmates and remands |25 February 2021
The prison service marks an important milestone in its rehabilitation programme, that being two years of dispensing methadone to inmates and remands who have opted for the medication as they manage their drug addiction.
It was on February 25, 2019 after discussions with the Agency for the Prevention of Drugs and Rehabilitation (Apdar), and other stakeholders that the prison service added methadone to services offered to inmates as part of rehabilitation efforts.
On that first day, 50 inmates stepped forward to be part of the effort and the following day an additional five. As the days went by more and more inmates stepped forward and after evaluation by medical staff entered into the programme this with support from Apdar, the number of inmates eventually climbed to approximately 157.
From the very start of the service, dispensing of methadone has been consistently provided without fail by a core team of nurses from the prison medical clinic ably led by Sgt Monique Monthy, a nurse with over 42 years of service. Assisted by nursing officer Rosemary Poiret, health care assistant Wilna Laurette, and nurse assistant Abdulkarim Fakhil, an officer seconded to the Seychelles Prison Service from the Tanzanian Prison Service, this dedicated team has dispensed over 73,000 doses of methadone to their clients.
Averaging two hours per day has meant 1,460 as a combined total has been expended in this important effort. Relative success can further be gauged understanding that 40% of those on the methadone programme have completely stopped their use of illicit drugs while remaining but lowering their methadone doses.
The remainder on the programme are as well noting positive results as their cravings become subdued and their outlooks become more positive.
One inmate who remains on the programme and is nearing his release date is inmate ‘Benny’, who said, “I thank God for the programme and for the help of all the staff. I have had problems in the past and since I started taking methadone two years ago I have noticed a great improvement in my life and my time here as an inmate. I am more stable, I want to do positive things, I enjoy my work in the programme, I have been able to save my allowance, my family is much happier and I am looking forward to getting a chance to go to work and earn my living honestly and free from drugs. Drugs was killing me. I was injecting, smoking, and doing foolish things. In prison, I found myself thanks to the support of staff. I have joined the religious programmes, have helped in the library, and participated in both work programmes. I have had my issues and acted terribly at times. Thanks to the patience of staff and their support I have been able to make it.”
The methadone approach for inmates has greatly contributed to a more stable and conducive environment for the vast majority of inmates at Seychelles Prison Services (SPS) Montagne Posée prison and for those on remand at SPS Bois de Rose detention facility.
The support provided to date extends not only to the nurses but as well counsellors, the prison doctor, welfare staff, and certainly staff assigned to the remand facility, custodial and security.
“Seven hundred and thirty (730) days have now gone and from day one we have remained focused and dedicated to the work at hand. We are certainly starting to see positive results but we realise and appreciate that with addiction of drugs there is always the possibility of a client relapsing. Temptation remains and can persist in life. The work we have started certainly needs to continue and grow so that an opportunity for those addicted have a chance at a better life. In addition, for those tempted to participate in the drug culture and die using drugs, just do not do it. If negative examples are needed then just look at those poor lost souls who we see every day by the side of the street flying high as they lean against the wall. Lives lost and on the edge to oblivion,” said Raymond St Ange, superintendent of prisons.
On this special milestone the prison service extends its thanks to the nursing team, the prison doctor, all staff, Apdar, parents and loved ones of inmates addicted and now recovering, and as well Seychelles Trading Company (STC) who generously donated healthy fruits to be distributed to inmates on methadone on this day.
Press release from the Seychelles Prison Services