Use of hard drugs, especially methamphetamine or “ice,” is on the rise again, admitted Vice President and Minister of Justice Uduch Sengebau-Senior.
Communities are reporting an increase in the use of drugs among young people. One woman from Babeldaob said she suspects her son of taking drugs. “His behavior is getting worse. He comes and breaks into the house and steals stuff. He is also displaying violent and threatening behavior that he didn’t do before.”
Vice President Senior said that they’d received reports from Babeldaob and Peleliu of the rise in the use of “ice” in their communities.
“We are not just sitting down and doing nothing about it. We are working hard to address the problem. So far, we have forwarded 15 cases to Attorney General for prosecution. I believe two of those cases were filed today,” added Vice President Senior.
“Ice is all imported through the post office, airport passengers/luggage, seaport, and coastline,” explained BPS Director Ishmael Aguon of the source of drugs into Palau.
“Canine is being utilized and meeting and coordination between Customs and NEU to step up border security,” said Aguon, responding to questions on what’s being done to limit the entry of drugs into Palau.
“We are doing everything we can with what we have. Eight police officers resigned and left the country this year. This is a lot for MOJ,” added Vice President Senior of the challenges they face.
She added that they are reaching out to partners to assist, especially legal assistance with the prosecution.
Furthermore, they are implementing their youth education outreach program with the Ministry of Education. “We are working with Minister Jenkins to scale up the LEEP program in the schools, especially during the intermissions.” By January, they plan to have a policeman assigned to Palau High School.
The use of hard drugs, especially methamphetamine or “ice” dropped significantly when borders closed but the re-opening of borders has brought back this drug that exacts a terrible toll on communities.