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Ganja, the choice

Jonathan Yearwood

Jonathan Yearwood

Marijuana is the choice illegal drug among now had the proof to determine the extent to which such adolescents in Barbados. use could “create problems for the society, for the family,

This is one of the findings of the Barbados Drug Information Network report for 2011. They were revealed this morning at a panel discussion to discuss The Role of Data Collection in Drug Policy held at the Savannah Beach Hotel in Hastings, Christ Church and hosted by the National Council on Substance Abuse.

Speaking to the media, NCSA Research and Information Officer, Jonathan Yearwood, said that the data collected showed that 17 per cent of the secondary school students referred to the Edna Nicholls Centre in January 2011, were marijuana users. In addition three out of every 10 students have used alcohol according to the 2007 secondary schools survey.

The research also found, he said, that in 2011 the majority of people who received treatment at various drug rehabilitation centres on the island were between the ages

of 21 and 35 years old. Their drug of choice was as well marijuana and combinations of marijuana.

In the currentindicator(the use of a substance one or more times within the last 30 days) of 2007 showed four out of 10 of the adult population have used alcohol, one out of every six used marijuana with a “very low percentage” of less than one per cent, used cocaine.

Notwithstanding such findings could have been found from casual observation through communities, he said they

for the cost to a country from dealing with the fall out from the use of substances”.

“What casual observation could not show was the extent that the use of these substances could be problematic … for productivity, for school, for the relationship between these substances and non– communicable diseases, for incarceration — the cost of housing and maintaining inmates for drug procession.

“So once again we see this link between marijuana within the secondary school population within the data for persons being arrested, within the prison data and persons being incarcerated. “In this context,” he added, “we have to look at the whole data coming out and to formulate policies to guide us in how to deal with issues relating to the abuse of substance, particularly those substances that were clearly identified from both primary research and existing data within Barbados.

“We will meet with stakeholders, including school- based institutions and law enforcement, and we have a panel discussion upon the releasing of these findings with broad based clinical, medical, law enforcement and treatment personnel providing their views on issues that would have come out from the findings and to see how these findings could influence policies for intervention across the board in Barbados.”

Yearwood added that they were not yet in a position to say if there was a significant increase in marijuana, alcohol or any other substance. (KC)

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