Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has urged Jamaicans to support the work of the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) and to participate fully in the agency’s activities for Drug Awareness Month (November).
He was speaking on November 1, at a ceremony at King’s House, where he read a Proclamation declaring November as Drug Awareness Month.
The month, which is being celebrated under the theme: ‘Stop and think, drugs not the link’, will see the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) co-ordinating several activities across the island.
“The theme highlights the need for urgent, co-ordinated and sustained action in reducing the negative impact of substance abuse on all sectors and strata of Jamaican society,” the Governor-General said.
Some of the activities planned for Drug Awareness Month include: a parenting symposium, peer counsellors training, information and health fair, and an interactive youth forum. There will also be a drug awareness day and concert slated for November 17, at the Avocat Primary and Junior High School in Portland.
Executive Director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker, noted that there is a lot of work to be done in educating the public about the impact of drug usage on the society.
“People have to make the right choices, especially young people, about life generally and drug abuse in particular. We try, through the work that we do, to help them to make the right decisions based on the circumstances that face them. The truth is, drug use is a choice and often experimentation starts when bad choices are made, because they cannot cope and because there is misinformation as a result of peer pressure,” Mr. Tucker said.
“Instead of dealing with things the sensible way, the choice is taken to use drugs that eventually can lead to destruction and misery. So, the work that we do (includes) helping the youngsters through the programmes to make the right choice, help them through the challenges and work with the stakeholders to shore up that safety net that our young people may require,” he added.
The NCDA, which falls under the Ministry of Health, is a statutory body that was established by the Government of Jamaica in 1983. The agency, which has charity status, aims to reduce the demand of and dependence on illicit drugs, and the use and abuse of illicit drugs. Over the years, the agency has trained thousands of volunteers and attracted the support of several researchers and community-based advocates.