The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) will be hosting its 2012 Drug Awareness Symposium on Tuesday, November 27, at the Morant Bay Anglican Church in St. Thomas.
The event, which is slated to begin at 10 a.m., forms part of the activities being held in commemoration of Drug Awareness Month (November), and is part of the NCDA’s thrust to influence positive behaviour change amongst Jamaica’s youth population.
In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker, pointed out that, “the activity will target 12 to 25 year olds, because substance abuse often occurs in this age range as significant levels of experimentation take place."
Mr. Tucker informed that the symposium will seek to heighten public awareness of the dangers of smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, in light of the recent spate of reports of teenage drinking and substance misuse.
He said that the keynote speaker at the function will be Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who will, along with other presenters, explore the causes and consequences of underage drinking and smoking.
Mr. Tucker noted that students from various schools in the parish and representatives from several stakeholder organisations in St. Thomas will take part in the symposium.
Participating organisations include the Ministries of Health and Education, Health Department, Child Development Agency, Victim Support Unit, Probation Department and the Police.
The NCDA believes that a collaborative approach is needed to combat the social ills that Jamaicans are facing, which include underage drinking and substance abuse. Mr Tucker is urging ‘party promoters and retailers’ to uphold the law and to clamp down on the illegal purchase of alcohol and drugs by under-aged youth.
Drug Awareness Month is being observed under the theme: ‘Mek Wi Protect Wi Yutes from Substance Abuse’.