HAGATNA, 24 JULY 2017 (MARIANAS VARIETY) —- The island’s growing drug problem, as seen in a spate of drug arrests and raids in recent months, is mirrored in the number of cases in the Superior Court of Guam.
The number of drug cases, primarily involving methamphetamine, has steadily risen from 176 in fiscal year 2014, to 229 the following year and 261 in fiscal 2016.
The number of cases involving Schedule II controlled substances last fiscal year represents a nearly 47 percent increase from the total two years earlier, annual statistics with the Superior Court show.
In addition to the near-daily drug arrests during traffic stops, the Guam Police Department’s Mandaña Drug Task Force and SWAT officers have conducted more than 37 raids since the task force began operations in February.
The task force raids have also led to the discovery of families living in substandard conditions — some in makeshift shelters such as canopies or pop-up tents — as a result of a drug problem involving a family member, GPD has previously stated.
Last fiscal year, the overall case filings decreased by 20 percent from the previous year, but the drug cases continued to rise, court statistics show.
The Judiciary of Guam has started the Adult Drug Court, which allows a defendant to go into intensive treatment and counseling services to help participants with their substance abuse problems.
Participants eligible for the programme must undergo frequent and random drug testing, and agree to sanctions for failure to comply with the programme guidelines, according to the court.
Those who successfully complete the program can be eligible to have their cases removed from court records, giving the defendants a second chance.
In 2016, the Adult Drug Court program for first-time offenders received 101 new referrals, of which 60 were deemed eligible to participate in the programme.
Thirty-two completed the drug-rehabilitation program for first-time offenders, or a success rate of less than 1 out of 3 who enter the programme.
The same statistics showed an increase in the number of registered sex offenders, from 759 the previous year to 850 last fiscal year, or an increase of nearly 6 percent….PACNEWS [/restrict]