Committed to fight
Government is ensuring that drug awareness remains a front burner issue by injecting $45,000 per annum into the National Council on Substance Abuse’s Life Education Centre mobile classroom programme.
Speaking yesterday at the re-launch of the programme at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Webster’s Business Park, Manager at the NCSA, Yolande Forde, revealed that Government had maintained its interest in the development and upkeep of the LEC through its renewal of a five year contract and franchise in 2010.
“The provision of $45,000 per annum through the NCSA for this programme represents an investment by the Government in our children who, from as young as age four, are provided with some critical life skills and encouraged to have a sense of self-worth and to resist drug use,” he said.
Referring to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime publication, titled School-based education for drug abuse prevention (2004), the manager stated that the article supported the view that there must be drug prevention initiatives in schools, as “one-off drug information sessions that simply throw out facts about drugs may in fact prove to be counterproductive”.
Forde told attendees at the event, which is part of activities for drug awareness month: “The NCSA has developed a comprehensive programme for delivering drug prevention education to Barbados’ primary and secondary school children. Our initiatives engage students in drug activities that would assist them in making healthy and safe choices, in identifying risky situations, and in developing strategies to prepare them for challenging situations.”
Also lauding the re-launch of the LEC mobile classroom initiative was former Principal at Eagle Hall Primary, Marcia Best, who said the health of an individual impacted significantly on the health of the nation, and it was therefore of the utmost importance that the values of health and education are inculcated into the minds of our children at a very early stage.
Best also pointed out that research showed that the earlier policy makers encouraged children to develop a positive self-image, self-esteem and a feeling of uniqueness, the better equipped they would be to make positive, healthy choices.
According to Drug Education Officer (Primary), Wendy Greenidge: “The LEC uses various teaching techniques such as puppetry, drama, visual aids and videos to promote among the students awareness of their body and how it works, with particular emphasis on the effects of drug use.”
Since its inaugural launch in January 2007, the LEC has reached over 30,300 school children at 109 public and private nursery and primary schools across the island.
The LEC is a mobile, 40-foot air-conditioned, containerised classroom which is fully outfitted with the latest in educational technology.