National Drug Council looks to expand ways to assist persons dealing with substance abuse

Prime Minister Harris (right) presents certificate to the Director of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention and certified drug treatment specialist, Karimu Byron

(SKNIS): Substance abuse is a challenge both globally and in St. Kitts and Nevis, and the National Council on Drug Abuse and Prevention saw the need to educate persons so as to help eradicate the threat, stated the department’s Director, Karimu Byron.

Speaking at the Fundraiser, and Training and Certification Programme for Drug and Violence Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation (PROCCER) Graduation Gala on Saturday, February 13, at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI), the director noted that substance abuse affects everyone and should be taken seriously.

“As a result of the challenges raised by members of the Organization of American States (OAS) from surveys and through key informants, we knew something should be done before the challenges escalate,” she stated, while adding that on the global front there was a need to improve the standards of services and care offered to individuals, their families, communities and the society at large. “St. Kitts and Nevis at the time of initial assessment in 2012, recorded zero specialist in the area of drug abuse prevention and treatment. As such, when the opportunity was made available by the OAS through its Demand Reduction Section, the National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention, accepted the offer without hesitation.”

The director noted that the department would do as much as it can to get more persons trained.

“Once funds become available, we will like to carry out more training such as the PROCCER,” she said. “In addition, there were three tracks for the training programme, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, however, we only had prevention and treatment. The rehabilitation track is yet to be launched in the Caribbean and once that becomes available, we hope to be included in the training. In the meantime, the Government through the National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention will be providing refresher workshops for the specialists and working with the National Drug Prevention and Treatment Specialists Association to keep its members active.”

Ms. Byron stated that the drug council targeted institutions that offer front-line services in the Federation. Some of these included counselors, nurses, social workers and pastors.

The director offered positive words, especially to persons who might be battling drug abuse. She said that they are not alone and stated that although it is often difficult to desist from such behaviour, it is not impossible. The director encouraged persons to seek assistance especially family members and persons in the communities who may know someone who struggles with substance abuse or any other challenge.

In 2006, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), under the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security (SMS), of the OAS designed the Training and Certification Programme (PROCCER) to help remedy challenges by developing and strengthening OAS member state institutions, public policies, and strategies regarding prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for individuals with problems stemming from drug abuse and violence.

The Training and Certification Programme for Drug and Violence Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation (PROCCER) was launched in El Salvador in 2007, and may now be found throughout Central America, Mexico, the member states of the Latin-American Federation, and the Caribbean region.

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