Regional Governments Urged to Act Now Against Drug Trafficking and Abuse


Programme Manager for Sustainable Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Beverly Reynolds, has called on Caribbean governments and stakeholders to “act now” to tackle drug trafficking and abuse in the region.
She was addressing a Think Tank at the Half Way Tree Road headquarters of the JIS on Wednesday (June 24).
Speaking against the background of the observance of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Friday, June 26, Mrs. Reynolds said governments, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and international partners, must come together to develop a far-reaching and long-term approach to the issue of substance abuse, which has become a development problem across all sectors.
“The manifestations might be in the health sector as it is now with drug addiction, but the problem cuts across all sectors. It’s a social problem and an economic problem, and so we have to tackle it from that angle,” she stated.
She advised persons using illicit drugs to seek support and treatment, noting that the longer people stay in treatment the better the outcome.
Executive Director of the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Michael Tucker, in his address, said that the Council has been actively educating young people against taking illicit drugs and how to use legal substances such as alcohol, responsibly.
He informed that recent access to funding from the European Union through the CARICOM Secretariat, has facilitated several priority initiatives including public education, treatment and rehabilitation of at-risk groups, and research to inform programmes and capacity building of staff involved in drug abuse prevention and treatment.
The NCDA, he said, continues to work in communities through clinics, supported by the National Health Fund (NHF), and has partnered with 10 NGOs in targeted areas to deliver counselling for substance abusers and persons affected by HIV or trauma, as a result of violence.
A 2006 survey conducted by the Council, shows that alcohol use among young people was 70 per cent; 26 per cent smoked cigarettes or tobacco; 25 per cent used marijuana/ganja; and 14 per cent used beadie, which is a tobacco-based product.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is leading the international campaign against drug abuse and drug trafficking, with the aim of raising awareness, especially among young people. Among the major goals is to inspire people and mobilise support for drug control.

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