JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is advocating for the enforcement of the laws that relate to drug use to stem the tide of increased misuse of drugs, particularly among young Jamaican males.
  • Executive Director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker, told JIS News that the enforcement of laws regarding underage drug use is something that is essential to prevent early exposure.
  • “The laws need to protect our young people from persons who choose to sell these substances to youngsters despite knowing the dangers, despite knowing it’s against the law and despite knowing the harm that it may cause,” Mr. Tucker added.

The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is advocating for the enforcement of the laws that relate to drug use to stem the tide of increased misuse of drugs, particularly among young Jamaican males.

Executive Director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker, told JIS News that the enforcement of laws regarding underage drug use is something that is essential to prevent early exposure.

He was speaking against the background of the results of the National Drug Prevalence Survey, conducted between April and July 2016, which showed that drug use is significantly higher among males than females.

“With all the work we do in prevention, education and sensitisation of the population about the negative consequences of drug use, especially among the young population, unless there is enforcement of the laws, it will not stop,” he pointed out.

“The laws need to protect our young people from persons who choose to sell these substances to youngsters despite knowing the dangers, despite knowing it’s against the law and despite knowing the harm that it may cause,” Mr. Tucker added.

The Executive Director said persons who sell to underage children need to be charged significant fines that would be a deterrent.

He said that this would support the NCDA’s efforts to strengthen and increase prevention initiatives to ensure an increase in the age of first use.

Mr. Tucker explained that delaying the first use of a substance over a prolonged period, especially during high school years and entering the college years, makes it very likely that continued use would be minimal or not at all.

“We realise that the security forces are under significant pressure because of crime, generally, but there must be an understanding that crime and some of the mayhem that occurs come from a sense of lawlessness in society and the fact that the law is not being enforced in certain areas,” he insisted.

Mr. Tucker said that people get away with basic things that are against the law and that it escalates into people feeling that the law will not be enforced.

“That you have people selling alcohol and cigarettes to underage youngsters is something that has to be dealt with. It escalates into other things. It happens at… all-inclusive parties, at various events and even at school gates with the vendors,” he said, adding that sometimes it progresses to the young people becoming the vendors.

He said the cycle perpetuates itself in a number of ways and that it must be stemmed.