Health Minister Emphasises Need for Substance Abuse Reduction in Schools

Photo: Michael Sloley ) Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (right), greets President of the Association of Friends and Families of Substance Abusers (AFAFOSA), Steve Ashley (centre), while daughter of Clover Thompson, Founder of AFAFOSA, Carolyn Thompson (left), looks on. Occasion was the opening of a Drug Treatment Court, in Morant Bay, St. Thomas, on March 1.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says there is need for an intensified engagement of young people and education administrators for the reduction of substance abuse in schools.
  • Addressing the opening of a Drug Treatment Court, in Morant Bay, St. Thomas, on March 1, the Minister pointed out that surveys conducted by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) in educational institutions show that students are doing “experimentation” with substances that can lead to deviant behaviour and their dropping out of the school system.
  • He said the issue is a huge and growing problem. “There are young people in the education system who are trying marijuana and alcohol, and this is having a consequence on their capacity to grow into productive law-abiding adults,” the Minister said.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says there is need for an intensified engagement of young people and education administrators for the reduction of substance abuse in schools.

Addressing the opening of a Drug Treatment Court, in Morant Bay, St. Thomas, on March 1, the Minister pointed out that surveys conducted by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) in educational institutions show that students are doing “experimentation” with substances that can lead to deviant behaviour and their dropping out of the school system.

He said the issue is a huge and growing problem. “There are young people in the education system who are trying marijuana and alcohol, and this is having a consequence on their capacity to grow into productive law-abiding adults,” the Minister said.

Dr. Tufton said the Ministry embraces the drug treatment court, which provides support for persons who have gone on the “wrong paths”, and are in need of rehabilitation.

The Minister also lauded the many agencies and groups that are reaching out to substance abusers.

“We must do so with a sense of compassion, and an appreciation that as citizens, helping those who need care must be done, although the individuals may have acted in circumstances and in pursuit of particular paths that may not be in their best interest, or society’s best interest. We must work with them to give them an opportunity to correct those mistakes,” the Minister said.

The purpose of the Drug Treatment Court, which started operation in 2001, is to help with the reduction of drug abuse on the island by providing an alternative to incarceration for drug-dependent offenders. Its primary mandate is to treat individuals rather than administer trials.

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