Ganja Most Prevalent Drug Used By Criminals

Photo: Mark Bell Research Analyst at the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Uki Atkinson, reports that marijuana is the most prevalent drug used by convicted and remand inmates across seven Caribbean Countries, at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’.

Story Highlights

  • Research Analyst at the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Uki Atkinson, is reporting that marijuana is the most prevalent drug used by convicted and remand inmates across seven Caribbean countries.
  • Ms. Atkinson said that between 68 and 86 per cent of all offenders had used marijuana at least once in their lifetime.
  • Ms. Atkinson also revealed that the Jamaican inmates confessed to using marijuana before any other drugs, which was outside of the norm.

Research Analyst at the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Uki Atkinson, is reporting that marijuana is the most prevalent drug used by convicted and remand inmates across seven Caribbean countries.

Citing a 2014 prison survey, which explored the relationship between drugs and crime, Ms. Atkinson said that between 68 and 86 per cent of all offenders had used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. In Jamaica, three quarters of those surveyed reported use of the drug.

“The highest proportion was reported in Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the lowest proportion was in St. Kitts and Nevis, while Jamaica reported approximately 75 per cent of inmates used marijuana,” she added.

Ms. Atkinson also revealed that the Jamaican inmates confessed to using marijuana before any other drugs, which was outside of the norm.

“This is not the normal pattern. Among our secondary school survey participants, generally it would be the softer drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco they start using, but among the prison population marijuana is the drug that was used first,” she informed.

The Research Analyst further noted that the average age for first use of marijuana was 15; alcohol age 16, and tobacco age 17.

“We would expect this to be the reverse that marijuana would be later rather than earlier,” she pointed out.

The 2014 prison survey was conducted in Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda and

St. Kitts and Nevis to explore the relationship between criminal behaviour and drugs from both convicted and remanded inmates.

Ms. Atkinson was addressing a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, where she also outlined three major ways used to describe the link between drugs and crime.

“The first way is the psychopharmacological model, which speaks to the use of drugs on the day the crime was committed. The second is the Economic Compulsive model, which speaks to drug users who commit crimes in order to support their habit; and the third way is the Systematic Link, which speaks to violence being an integral part of the illegal drug trade,” she explained.

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