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Oct 31, 2000

Teachers receive training in drug abuse

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Although drug education is part of our primary national curriculum, most of the material available has been imported from abroad. Today, the National Drug Abuse Control Council promised to strengthen their resources by making sure the information given to students are far more relevant to Belizean society. In an effort to do just that, over the past two days teachers have been receiving training to combat the influence and misuse of drugs among students.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The teachers have not only been learning about the effects of drugs and how to address the situation at school, but are also working on a drug resource booklet. The booklet is expected to be finished by March and will then be introduced into the primary school curriculum. Valerie Blackwell, a curriculum specialist working at NDACC is co-ordinating the workshop.

Valerie Blackwell, Curriculum Specialist, NDACC

“They have been talking about some of the experiences that they have had in schools. Some of the difficulties that the young people have had and been sharing those experiences and being supportive to each other to find ways to move forward, to move education forward.”

“Education is never perfect. The world is never perfect. Things change, things develop, drug situation and problems change in all parts of the world very rapidly and the needs of children change every time. There are new staff, new teachers. There are always new things we can learn, always things we can do better.”

The teachers all agree that there is a problem with drug abuse in students. A survey by NDACC in 1998 shows that alcohol abuse is the biggest drug problem among students, while marijuana is second in both schools and communities.

Carolyn Westby, Guidance Counselor

“Well from statistics we have looked at, yes we can say it is on the increase sad to say. I’ve been working with students and children for over twenty-five years. So I have had actual experiences of working with children who we know come from families who have been affected by the use of drugs.”

The participants say the workshop has given them many helpful tips on how to confront students with drug issues. But while some students do not use or abuse drugs, they are still affected if a parent in the household does.

Dwight Cadle, Teacher

“It highlights the teachers on how to deal with this drug problem in the school and how to deal with kids who go through the problem because often at times we go in the classroom and teach and the kids come with a lot of problems that we need to find out what to do about it. The programme helps us in being equipped and understanding why children act the way they do at school.”

The booklet will also enhance other drug prevention programmes that are being given in some schools.

Helen Rocke, Counselor/Teacher, St. Michael’s High School

“Every week for our students we do personal and social development, which definitely includes drug education. We have many of our students who are at risks when it comes to the many of the problems including drugs.”

Kelvin Avilez, Teacher, YEA

“Presently at YEA one of the programmes from the Department of Corrections? We are facilitated by NDACC to have seminars regularly so that the youths can have a better understanding and awareness about the use of drugs amongst juveniles.”

While the one day workshop came to a close today in Belize City, NDACC has plans to conduct similar workshops during the next six weeks across the country.

The workshop was conducted in conjunction with the European Union.

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