KINGSTON, JAMAICA- A report by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) in 2021 found that public education prevention initiatives had impacted some 145,828 adults, while in-school prevention programs had impacted 4,000 children across 73 institutions.
A survey of economic and social conditions in Jamaica was published by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in 2021.
According to the report, 935 clients accessed the primary treatment (drug counselling) programme, 69% of whom were new clients.
In addition, the ‘Tek It To Dem’ program aimed at providing HIV and drug prevention services to the homeless population that may be substance abusers.
According to the document “For the period under review, 924 persons were reached, and 884 persons were tested for HIV and syphilis.”
The report also mentioned the Drug Treatment Court Programme, a diversion program designed to rehabilitate people who have committed minor drug-related offenses.
The document states, “There are currently five adult courts across the island where counselling is offered. A total of 66 clients were seen in 1,179 sessions, and 664 drug tests were conducted.”
The NCDA offers drug counselling to children referred through the Ministry of Justice through its Child Diversion Programme.
Through rehabilitative interventions, this program enhances the life skills of children who have come into conflict with the law and diverts them from the criminal justice system.
This resulted in the referral of 92 children for treatment, of which 77 percent received treatment. Over the period, NCDA conducted 1,044 sessions with 109 clients (71 new and 38 repeat clients) and administered 194 drug tests.
In the meantime, a study conducted on the impact of the pandemic on secondary-school students revealed that substance abuse increased in 2021.
“Based on findings presented in the study, the NCDA recommended increasing adolescent mental health screening and services, providing opportunities for small-group engagement for self-expression, providing more support for virtual engagement, and increasing parental participation and supervision to assist students,” the report said.