CARIFORUM to develop draft Model School Drug Policy

Group photo of participants representing Ministries of Education, National Drug Councils and non-governmental organisations
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More than 20 representatives from government ministries and non-governmental organisations in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are attending a regional workshop to develop a draft Model School Drug Policy. The workshop opened on 21 January 2019, in Castries, Saint Lucia.

The use of licit and illicit substances, including alcohol, inhalants, and marijuana, has been increasing, particularly by students across the Region.

A 2016 Report  of a study undertaken in 13 CARICOM Member States by the Inter American Drug Abuse Commission (CICAD) found that: the mean age of first use of alcohol across the countries was 12.2 years; increasingly more females were consuming alcohol; and the use of inhalants was not perceived as being harmful by approximately 38 per cent of the students surveyed.

The report  said that marijuana was the most widely used illegal substance and in most cases, its use was even more prevalent than tobacco. In this respect, the most important finding about marijuana, the study recorded, was that in most countries there was an increase in prevalence when compared to the 2010 CICAD) study and, at the same time, a decline in the perception of harm associated with marijuana use, the report also said.

The expected outcome of the three-day meeting is a draft Model School Drug policy. The draft policy will be subsequently reviewed and validated by Member States before submission to the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) for endorsement. It is expected that the Model Policy will guide Member States in the formulation of their national policies, where necessary.

The workshop is an activity of the Drug Demand Reduction component of the CARIFORUM/European Union Crime and Security Programme, under the Tenth European Development Fund.

Read the full Press Release here

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