(ZIZ)– Representatives from various sectors came together on Wednesday morning to take part in a Drug Abuse Treatment and Prevention Course at Customs Headquarters.
The sessions, which focused on prevention of drug abuse, will be followed next week by training on Drug Abuse Treatment.
Director of the National Drug Council, Karimu Byron said drug and alcohol abuse are very serious concerns particularly among the youth.
“As you may be well aware there are young people who are experimenting with alcohol at an early age,” she said. “Secondary school drug surveys indicate that as early as nine years old we have children using alcohol and marijuana. It is time that we, as a community, as key stakeholders, persons who are interested to help try to make a difference in the lives of our people.”
The training course falls under the OAS’ Training and Certification Program for Drug and Violence Prevention, Treatment, And Rehabilitation (PROCCER)
Consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Sharon Halliday said drug dependence is a chronic relapsing disease which must be treated as a public health matter, like other chronic diseases.
“Effective action on the issues of drug abuse and the sequela of crime and violence in the Caribbean is hampered by the lack of properly trained and certified frontline personnel. The PROCCER is therefore an innovative programme now being implemented throughout the Caribbean by the demand reduction section of CICAD,” she said.
The goal of the programme is to have certified participants who have the skills and knowledge to design and implement prevention programmes.
Permanent Secretary in The Prime Minister’s Office, Her Excellency Astona Browne, noted that drug abuse leads to violence and death so a comprehensive approach must be taken to stop the downward spiral.
“Just a few days ago right here in our Federation we came face to face with the reality of violent crime. We must see the need to buttress the downward trend in crime on a whole. We must continue to embrace the institutionalization of demand reduction. We must not focus on the symptoms only but on the prevention of drug use,” she said.
Similar sessions were held on Thursday afternoon in Nevis.