NCDA Intensifies Efforts to Reach Young People

Jamaica News: The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is intensifying efforts to reduce substance abuse among young people, particularly children.

Research Analyst at the NCDA, Uki Atkinson, told JIS News that while the overall trend in relation to drug use in Jamaica is showing a slight decrease over the last few years, “we are still concerned about the early introduction of varying substances to minors”.

“What we want to achieve is a shift in that culture, as it is proven that the risk of harm is greater in less mature individuals,” she pointed out.

She said that main substances being abused by adults and youth in Jamaica continue to be alcohol, ganja and tobacco.

She noted, however, that there are concerns about non-traditional methods as well as new substances being utilised.

She informed that over the past several months, the NCDA has been receiving reports of a special concoction called ‘lean’ being utilised among students.

Lean is comprised of prescription strength cough syrup containing codeine, carbonated beverage and candy that is ingested orally in an effort to achieve a form of intoxication or high.

Ms. Kirlew also pointed out that the matter of embalming fluid being mixed with marijuana in an effort to intensify the effects is also something that is on the radar.

“Conversations with medical professionals have shown that the types of reactions being reported suggest that there has to be some other form of chemical being utilised in conjunction with the fluid to achieve those effects,” she said.

She informed that the agency is still making checks to ascertain the components of the substances being used.

She said that it is not desirable for any individual to abuse substances, but noted that it becomes even more alarming when it is being done by children.

“It is for this reason that we encourage parents, guardians and any other custodians to maintain a high level of vigilance as it relates to children, and have dialogue with them on a regular basis to prevent their involvement in drug use or any other illicit activity,” appealed Ms. Atkinson.

Jamaica will observe International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26 under the theme ‘Don’t Die for a High: #Stay Drug-Free’.

The NCDA, in a collaborative effort with the Ministry of National Security, will undertake a number of public-awareness activities in observance of the day.

Director of Client Services at the NCDA, Collette Kirlew, told JIS News that a number of youth fora and sensitisation sessions will be held across the island in order to intensify public-awareness efforts in relation to drug use.

These sessions, she added, will be targeted at young people as well as those with direct or indirect responsibility for the youth and other stakeholders interacting with them.

“We want persons to be observant and proactive in relation to the well-being of the youth,” she said.


Source: JIS News

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