JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd has said that the consumption of drugs was of great concern to the nation, as this was linked to health and social problems in the society.
Addressing members of the Rotary Club of Kingston at their weekly luncheon at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on November 3, Dr. Rhodd pointed to the increase in the use of drugs by teenagers.
“We must face the fact that young people live in an environment where drug use is pervasive and many drugs are increasingly easy to get, as statistics confirmed that three out of four students believe that cigarettes and alcohol are fairly or very easy to obtain, while 60 per cent of the sample had similar sentiments with regard to marijuana (ganja),” he noted.
Given these findings, Dr. Rhodd said it was not astounding that 29 per cent of young people use drugs and alcohol; 11 per cent, ganja; 10 per cent, inhalants, and 5 per cent, tobacco.
He said it should be acknowledged that the behaviour of young people with regard to a healthy lifestyle, would largely determine the size, health and prosperity of the future population of Jamaica.
“The environment and culture should therefore facilitate the development of a healthy youth, one where young people embrace healthy lifestyles and enjoy optimum physical and mental health,” the Minister of State said.
Dr. Rhodd also pointed out that violence, both in the community and within the home, was an unfortunate feature of the society. The young people, he informed, were both victims and perpetrators of criminal activities, as approximately 15 per cent of students between 10 and 18 years of age carried weapons to school, while many boys and girls have been injured.
“At the same time, young people are arrested, jailed, and murdered at twice the rate of the general population,” the State Minister pointed out.
As a solution to the situation, Dr. Rhodd said the Jamaican government has acknowledged that education was critical to the process of young people developing and achieving their full potential. “We have adopted an asset based model, instead of a deficit based approach to youth development,” he said.