As a means to combat the corruptible influence of drugs on the nation’s young people, the Guidance and Counselling Unit in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, has produced a number of anti-drug literature for students in primary and secondary schools.
This was carried out with assistance from teachers and guidance counsellors.
Minister of State in the Ministry, Senator Noel Monteith, handed over the anti-drug materials in a ceremony held at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston on October 22.
Head of the Delegation of the European Commission, Gerd Jarchow (second left), presents books detailing the effects of drug abuse to Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Senator Noel Monteith (right). Executive Director of the National Council on Drug Abuse, Michael Tucker; and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture’s Director of Projects, Daphne Nelson, look on
Creation of the anti-drug materials forms part of the Ministry’s Prevention Education Programme, which is funded by the European Union, and implemented in collaboration with the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA).
The materials were created through the involvement and suggestions of teachers, students and guidance counsellors from a series of regional and national workshops held over a 10-month period.
They include a teacher’s guide, parents resource books, a comic book, posters, fliers and Power Point presentations.
In his address at the ceremony, Mr. Monteith said that Jamaican schools needed to make a concerted effort to combat drug abuse.
He pointed out that as schools have proven to be “a major influence in transmitting values, standards, and information to students”, it was important for programmes of prevention for youngsters to be promoted through the schools.
The State Minister said that the anti-drug materials were useful in providing young children and adolescents with practical information on the serious consequences of substance abuse.
Head of the Delegation of the European Union, Gerd Jarchow, expressed pleasure at how pro-active the Ministry and the NCDA have been, in responding to the need for drug awareness among the young.
“With the wide resource materials which have been developed, the students, their teachers and parents should gain a wealth of information about the dangers of substance abuse,” he said.
Executive Director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker, said it was important that the anti-drug materials provided to students in the classroom should also be reinforced with messages from parents or guardians at home.
Citing statistics from the 2001 National Household Survey, the Executive Director noted that 22,000 adolescents, aged 12 to 17, were identified as having an alcohol or drug related problem, while an estimated 42,000 persons in the 18 to 34 age group, were identified as having an alcohol or drug related problem.
“Knowledge of what drugs can do to the mind, the body and the individual in society, is essential to enable young people to make informed choices,” Mr. Tucker said.