• JIS News

    Minister of Health, Rudyard Spencer, has expressed the view that to successfully reduce the demand for illicit drugs throughout the Caribbean, a region-wide public education programme, similar to the one being implemented for HIV/AIDS, must be carried out.
    Pointing out that the region cannot afford the social decadence that accompanies the peddling, use and abuse of drugs, the Health Minister opined that if there is failure to control its trade and reduce the demand, then Governments would have failed in moving their people’s toward achieving the dreams of the founding fathers of the region.
    He was giving the keynote address at the CARICOM meeting of Directors of National Drug Councils, held at the Iberostar Hotel and Resort in Lilliput, St. James, yesterday (Oct. 28). The two-day meeting is being hosted by Jamaica’s National Council on Dug Abuse, and is being held under the theme: Developing Strategic Responses for Demand Reduction in the Caribbean.
    Praising what he terms as sustained efforts by CARICOM to address some of the fundamental challenges facing the region, Mr. Spencer highlighted drug abuse as a major challenge within the region, which can eventually undermine the fabric of the society and undo health and educational gains.
    “Over the last decade and a half this illicit trade has added a new and increasingly dangerous dimension to regional security,” he said in reference to the drug trade.
    “We must be prepared to expose the ills of drug abuse, the impact on families and communities, how it disrupts the dreams and hopes of our young people and how it makes users vulnerable to risky behaviour. Our people across the region must be told the truth again and again and again until they start to believe,” he stated.
    He said that strategies to reduce the demand for drugs must be multi-sectoral and targeted, adding that it is time to take back communities from drug pushers.