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May 3, 2012

Caribbean’s strategies to reduce the demand and supply of illicit drugs

Esner Vellos

The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) along with the Ministry of Health started the first day of an annual regional gathering.  Twenty directors of member states of Caricom gathered to discuss the Caribbean’s strategies to reduce the demand and supply of illicit drugs through numerous countries plan. Esner Vellos, the Director of NDACC, breaks down the numbers for alcohol and drugs.

 

Esner Vellos, Director of Drug Abuse Control Council

“At this point the issues that we are addressing is a consumption of alcohol. In 2011 when we compiled all our data we found that the highest number of illicit and licit drugs is alcohol. Therefore the National Drug Abuse Control Council is making sure that we will be able to design programs that will be able to target the consumption of alcohol. In terms of at what age range and who are the ones consuming alcohol; we found out that it’s our young people. Therefore we are doing different types of programs in our high schools and primary schools so that we will be able to target and reduce the initiation of consumption of alcohol through the Inside program. The inside program is a program that is designed through the collaboration of the schools and community programs unit and the rehabilitation and treatment unit. The program goes into the schools and offers drug demand reduction for alcohol and also rehabilitation or the initial process of rehabilitation for those young kids or young teenagers; that have already started or are going to start the consumption of alcohol. We also see second in line in terms of consumption, we see that we have a high increase of the consumption of marijuana at the national level and tobacco. However if we zoomed it in; in terms of the geographical regions then the picture changes a little bit. For example in the northern districts, there is a high increase in terms of the consumption of alcohol. However if we zoomed it into the City or the Belize District area, we see that the major consumption is marijuana. So therefore that’s why the National Drug Abuse Control Council has to take a proactive approach in terms of how we go about designing programs so that we will be able to be cost effective and be able to produce quality programs that would in one way or the other provide us with the productivity and the changes we want to have in our young people and the general community.”

 

The meeting which is being held under the theme, Building Human Resources in Drug Demand Reduction for Sustainable Development, is considered a historic meeting and especially so for the Ministry of Heath of Belize because for the first time this meeting is being held outside of the Caricom Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana. The meeting continues on Friday.

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