Synthetic Drugs: “Strawberry” A Big Concern For Social Workers

The “strawberry” is popular among young people at the moment. It can be in the form of candy or chocolate. An association is launching a prevention campaign.

A sociocultural association has warned several parents by sending them a message on their mobile phones saying that the strawberry sells around several schools. The association appealed to parents to discourage their children from accepting candy offered by strangers and friends. The situation are becoming more worrying to the extent where ten young people have been admitted to the Brown-Sequard hospital last week.

“Cette drogue est, en effet, disponible depuis quelque temps,” said Imran Dhannoo. What the social worker fear the most is that a bag of the synthetic drug is sold at Rs 100 making it easily available to young people.

“Only the name has changed …”
Imran Dhannoo explains that there are several synthetic drug families, including cannabinoids. These contain a substance that mimics tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient of cannabis, which provides a feeling of euphoria or well-being. “La drogue de synthèse est une imitation du THC, qui se trouve dans le cannabis naturel. À Maurice, elle est connue sous divers noms : fraise, C’est pas bien… En 2013, on connaissait le Black Mamba. Actuellement, la drogue la plus prisée est Bat dan latet.”

Social worker Ally Lazer: “Auparavant, on avait Ben Laden, ensuite Black Mamba et maintenant Bat dan latet,” he says. Regarding the strawberry, he says it is indeed available for some time. “C’est seulement le nom qui change, car il faut écouler le produit. Il y a des collégiens qui ont déjà consommé cette drogue.”

According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2015, one in five people uses cannabis or heroin. The Youth Determinants report in Mauritius, financed by the United Nations, describes the behavior of young people aged 15 to 24 in Mauritius. The study points out that boys are most affected by drugs. 16.2% reported smoking a joint in the school grounds. Thus, the report recommends a focus on school-level prevention programs or community centers. In addition, the study considers the necessity to develop new anti-drug campaigns.

In 2013, there were five arrests, 19 in 2014, 103 in 2015 and 111 as from January 2016 until July 10, 2016.