JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Drug abuse has played a major role in the degradation of society, and has destroyed the lives of too many Jamaicans.
  • The economic cost of substance abuse to Jamaica in 2010 was in excess of $3.6 billion.
  • The 2001 Government policy to introduce the Drug Court Rehabilitation Programme, was derived from recognition of the need to save individuals from themselves.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Carol Palmer, has called for increased sensitization of the effects caused by substance abuse, with particular focus on the children.

Delivering the keynote address at a recognition ceremony for persons in the Drug Court Rehabilitation Programme, held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in Kingston, on November 27, she said her call is as a result of the great risk children face with recreational drugs.

“An informed public is an empowered public, and sensitization is important in influencing behaviour change. It is imperative that we spread the message of the effects of substance abuse, and sensitization should commence at the early childhood level, as children are at great risk of becoming addicted to recreational drugs, such as marijuana, alcohol and tobacco, which too often progress to long-term addictive drug use,” Mrs. Palmer said.

She argued that drug abuse has played a major role in the degradation of society, and has destroyed the lives of too many Jamaicans, regardless of socio-economic status.

“The economic cost of substance abuse to Jamaica in 2010 was in excess of $3.6 billion,” the Permanent Secretary informed her audience.

She explained that the 2001 Government policy to introduce the Drug Court Rehabilitation Programme, was derived from recognition of the need to save individuals from themselves and the propensity for addiction to drugs.

The programme caters to persons who go before a Resident Magistrate’s Court for offences resulting from their use of illegal drugs, involving less than five ounces, and are offered the opportunity of rehabilitation rather than going to prison.

“The success of this programme is attributed to the ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Health, from inception. It is an achievement, it celebrates the responsibility which these individuals took, and the opportunity provided to maintain a clean record,” Mrs. Palmer said.

The Permanent Secretary urged the participants to remain focus on their new life, emphasizing that being free from drugs is a personal gain for themselves, their families and the wider society.

She also lauded the many private sector entities that have been providing employment for the persons in the programme.