JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is calling for a multi-sectoral approach to address the misuse of substances by young people.
  • The call comes against the background of the findings of the 2013 National Secondary School Survey, which shows that there continues to be a high number of students, who are misusing psychoactive substances.
  • The study found that in terms of lifetime use, alcohol was the substance most misused at 64.1 per cent, followed by cigarettes at 27.5 per cent, and marijuana at 20.7 per cent.

The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is calling for a multi-sectoral approach to address the misuse of substances by young people.

The call comes against the background of the findings of the 2013 National Secondary School Survey, which shows that there continues to be a high number of students, who are misusing psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.

The study found that in terms of lifetime use, alcohol was the substance most misused at 64.1 per cent, followed by cigarettes at 27.5 per cent, and marijuana at 20.7 per cent.

In terms of alcohol use, 10 per cent of the cohort reported getting drunk on an average of three times in the past month (at the time of the survey); 12 per cent consumed five or more alcoholic beverages at one sitting in the past two weeks; while 32 per cent reported that some of their friends drink alcohol regularly.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ Thursday, August 28, Executive Director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker, said that there has to be significant support from parents, schools and communities in dealing with the level of substance misuse among the school population.

He pointed out that adults have to become actively involved in the lives of youngsters and try to guide, nurture and inform them about what is right.

“It is a fact that all of us have to ensure that protective factors are in place for the young people,” Mr. Tucker said.

“So, I’m appealing for more partnership and collaboration and more support for what we’re doing …in ensuring that our young people become all that they can be,” he added.

He emphasized that there needs to be greater focus on school-based interventions, so as to increase awareness of the negative consequences of drugs and to help young people develop good decision making and resistance skills.

Mr. Tucker said research has shown that young people, who are involved in organisations such as uniformed groups and clubs, do well and often resist the temptation to misuse drugs.

He also informed that substance abuse is significantly lower among students, who have very good relationships with their parents; whose parents are involved in their lives, pay attention to what they watch on television, monitor how they perform in school and control the time of night they come home.

The study, conducted by the NCDA, sampled 3,365 students, and was conducted in 38 public and private secondary schools across 11 parishes in Jamaica. There was random sample selection of schools and classes from grades 8, 10, 11 and 12 with students ranging in age from 11 to 17 plus years.

The survey was funded by the Organization of American States/Inter American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD) and was a regional effort conducted in 12 countries.

Among its objectives were:  to determine the prevalence of psychoactive substance use, over lifetime, past year and month; and to explore factors related to the use of psychoactive substances such as parental use, supply, location of use; and to translate research into action.

The survey was completed through the use of a self-administered standardized questionnaire developed by the Inter-American Uniform Drug Use Data System.