NCDA Urges Public to take Part in Drug Prevalence Survey

Photo: JIS Photographer Research Analyst at the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Uki Atkinson.

Story Highlights

  • The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is urging members of the public to participate in the National Drug Prevalence Survey, as the results will inform policy decisions.
  • Mrs. Atkinson explained that the methodology for data collection in this survey is unique, efficient, user friendly and cutting edge.
  • Data collectors will display their identification cards as well as show an introductory video, which speaks about the study on their tablet

The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is urging members of the public to participate in the National Drug Prevalence Survey, as the results will inform policy decisions.

The survey, which is underway, seeks to determine the extent of drug use among the Jamaican population, aged 12-65 years, with a particular focus on marijuana use and attitudes toward the recent legislative changes.

“Think of the process not only as data being collected for statistical analysis, but to view the human component of it. People’s lives are impacted by drugs and we would like to use this information to make a real difference in our prevention and treatment efforts and to develop policies that will guide action,” Research Analyst at the NCDA, Uki Atkinson, told JIS News in an interview.

She highlighted that the Ministries of National Security, Education and Health are awaiting the results of the survey to inform their policies. “This type of information is important to them, because drug use cross-cuts several social issues,” she added.

Mrs. Atkinson noted that persons may not be substance (drug) users themselves, but they too should participate, as the NCDA is interested in the characteristics of the people who use and those who do not use drugs.

The Research Analyst said that the NCDA’s efforts to address issues, especially among youth regarding access and availability of drugs, risk perception and cultural acceptance, will be increased using the evidence collected from the survey.

“We are appealing to Jamaicans to participate in this research effort that ultimately seeks to make our people more aware and healthier through education and health related efforts that will be developed, based on what we know versus what we think we know. Our desire is that this national survey will run like a well oiled machine and be successful,” she said.

Mrs. Atkinson explained that the methodology for data collection in this survey is unique, efficient, user friendly and cutting edge.

“People are accustomed to using paper based survey, but we are using tablets, which lessens the interviewing time as the software has a skip pattern which will skip an entire section based on the interviewee’s response. In addition, the results go directly into a computer based system, so we do not have to manually enter data for analysis which usually lengthens the time of a survey,” she said.

The Research Analyst noted that the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has separated the island into Enumeration Districts (EDs), for research purposes. For this survey, persons will be interviewed from 22 EDs per parish, which amounts to a sample size of 5,000 persons.

In addition, Mrs. Atkinson said that both rural and urban populations are represented, which means the results will be a true representation of what is happening and where.

Members of the public can expect to see data collectors in their communities between April 19 and June 28 as the process should take between eight to 10 weeks.

Data collectors will display their identification cards as well as show an introductory video, which speaks about the study on their tablet. All information given is confidential and no question is listed which can identify the interviewee.

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