The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) has partnered with the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) Section of the United States Embassy on a public education campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of smoking and alcohol use amid the coronavirus (COVID -19).
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, NCDA Executive Director, Michael Tucker, said that the agency’s response to the pandemic has been bolstered by the involvement of the INL.
“We now have in rotation, on radio, some public service announcements (PSAs) that look at the negative consequences of smoking and alcohol use during COVID-19,” he said.
“We are looking at how smoking will affect you; how alcohol use will impact your immune system and, in fact, make you more susceptible to catching COVID-19; and recovering successfully,” he noted.
“If your immune system is compromised, then your chances of recovery are significantly lessened,” he added.
Speaking against the background of the recently observed World No Tobacco Day, Mr. Tucker said that smoking is harmful and is even more lethal when combined with COVID-19.
“It attacks the lungs, reduces lung function and compromises the immune system of a smoker, making it harder to fight off the deadly virus, and places smokers at severe risk for complications,” he pointed out.
Mr. Tucker told JIS News that in addition to the PSAs and a presence on social media, there are other elements of the public education campaign that will be rolled out in other phases.
“We are hopeful that, eventually, aside from radio and social media, we will also have a few television slots, where we’ll be able to give some useful information to the general public and our most vulnerable populations,” he said.
This is the second partnership between the NCDA and the INL section of the US Embassy, with the entities having collaborated in 2015 on an initiative called Talk di Truth, to sensitise young people about how to operate in a decriminalized ganja environment.