Mauritius has been under the spotlight in recent years with respect to the consumption of opiates (opium-derived drugs, such as heroin, Brown Sugar, Subutex®, etc.), being the country with the second highest consumption rate according to the 2008 annual World Drug Report.
Therefore, there have been several studies that have been made in relation to injecting drugs. Two of these studies were the following :
- The Integrated Behavioural and Biological Surveillance Survey among Injecting Drug Users in Mauritius published in 2009.
- The Integrated Behavioural and Biological Surveillance Survey for People Who Inject Drugs in Mauritius published in 2011 (not available online).
These studies totalled the number of Mauritians who inject drugs to 10,000, the injectable drugs used being mainly opiates (Brown Sugar, Subutex®).
Other illegal drugs
The data available on other types of illegal drugs used in Mauritius is limited. While cannabis is probably the most common illegal drug, we have no scientific data on the consumption among Mauritians of other susbtances such as cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, ecstasy, LSD or new psychoactive drugs.
A 2008 study showed the substances used by young people. 50% of which consumed alcohol and 15% cannabis. A much smaller percentage of youngsters admitted using heroin (1.4%), Subutex ® (1.1%), ecstasy / LSD (1.5%) and cocaine (0.6%), and other drugs.
A more recent study by the NGO Service d’Accompagnement, de Formation, d’Intégration et de Réhabilitation de l’Enfant (SAFIRE) and the Mauritius Family Planning and Welfare Association (MFPWA) surveyed substances used by street children. Among other drugs, we find that 37% use cannabis, 6.4% use cough syrup containing codeine and 1.1% inject drugs.
New Psychoactive Sustances
We also noted some New Psychoactive Substances on the Mauritian market, for example Black Mamba, which is a synthetic cannabinoid, commonly called synthetic cannabis.
What is a New Psychoactive Substance?
«The NPS are substances used either in pure form or in the form of preparations, which are not under control of international drug conventions, but can nevertheless pose a threat to public health. In this context, the “new” word does not necessarily mean that the drug is new in itself, but that it is a substance that is newly emerging in some markets. Generally, this term applies to any substance or (new) psychoactive substance not under control, which aims to reproduce the effects of controlled drugs. »
Extract from Executive Summary of the World Drug Report 2013.
Categories of New Psychoactive Substances:
a) Synthetic cannabinoids (like Black Mamba, Spice, etc)
b) Synthetic cathinone (mephedrone, bath salts, etc.)
c) Ketamine (anesthetic normally used in veterinary field)
e) Herbal psychoactive substances (eg, Salvia Divinorum, or Khat)
f) Other psychoactive substances (Tryptamines, aminoindans, Phencyclidine type substances etc.)
(Extracted from World Drug Report 2013).
Although there have been studies and research on the use of some specific drugs in Mauritius, those studies were conducted in relation to HIV/AIDS transmission, not to report on all the different drugs in circulation. We do not have a clear picture of the use of all other drugs that might carry a low HIV transmission risk. It is thus difficult to develop prevention and harm reduction messages for these types of drugs as these have not been well documented.