Proactive approach taken to prevent drug abuse among the youth

(SKNIS): The St. Kitts-Nevis National Council for Drug Prevention Secretariat is taking a proactive approach to drug abuse prevention in schools, says its director Karimu Byron, appearing on Wednesday’s (November 22) edition of “Working for You.”

The director said that persons such as guidance counsellors and nurses are being equipped to teach the ill effects of drugs through the group Drug Prevention and Treatment Services Inc. (DPATS), which is a group initiated by the Drug Prevention Secretariat.

Ms. Byron said that the main focus of the group at the moment is education. She explained that teachers and guidance counsellors are trained to develop drug prevention programmes within the schools. These meetings are spearheaded by Ms. Byron and Dr. Tricia Esdaille, Chief Education Officer.

“So the Drug Council is working very closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure that these prevention programmes are established, implemented and working within the schools, and are not stagnant. We want to evaluate and monitor and see how we can improve those programmes as well. So, that is one of the areas that we are currently looking at.”

Outside of the school setting, the group has worked with the New Horizons Rehabilitation Centre, said Ms. Byron.

“We have already worked with them to develop a drug prevention/intervention/treatment service there,” she said. “From the last follow-up, they hope to implement that next year. So, those are some mechanisms we are using in order to reach and educate persons.”

Drug Prevention Officer, Newrish Nital, also stated that the Drug Prevention Secretariat is going into primary schools to have discussions. He explained that the language that is used is one that primary school students can understand.

“You try to bring the language down to the age group and get them to understand the impact that alcohol or the misuse or the very usage of it can have on your body and the ramifications as a result of being intoxicated.”

Mr. Nital added that the members of the Drug Prevention Secretariat attend parent-teachers association meetings to make presentations in order to bring awareness to parents and teachers about the harmful effects of drugs on young people.

“[We] ask them to make judicious decisions,” he said. “You have to be informed, and to be informed you must be educated as to the physiological impact drugs will have on you economically and socially and where it can lead to. It can lead to antisocial behaviour and antisocial behaviour can lead to criminal activities.”

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