Drug abuse resistance education effective – Police Commander
…cites lower report of students using drugs in Region 10 schools
Although Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) has been identified as one of the leading regions in relation to the highest rates of child sexual abuse and also a “hotspot” for marijuana cultivation, reports of children obtaining and using illicit substances are low.
This is according to Commander of E Division (Linden-Kwakwani), Senior Superintendent Linden Lord.
He recently told Guyana Times that while alarming reports had surfaced between last year and June 2019 about the prevalence of children being involved in the use of illicit substances at schools, the region is no longer plagued with such high cases.
“You might get a report now and then but so far no amount that is alarming or high or frequent. We don’t have the amount of reports coming in,” the Commander said.
Commander Lord explained that the possibility exists that a child or even a few may come into contact with marijuana in light of Region 10, specifically Linden, being a well-known area for cannabis cultivation.
However, he stated that the police officers in the Division have been doing much work at the school level to ensure that students are properly educated on the harmful effects of using any illicit or illegal substance.
“We have the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programme which we introduced in schools and it is a continuous programme that is still ongoing. So I have persons [Police ranks] who would go to schools and talk to the children as it relates to the effects of using marijuana among other illicit substances. This has been very effective, in my view, and helps the children to become more aware about this topic.”
In September 2018, there were major concerns over reports of the growing trend of students using drugs and Assistant Chief Education Officer (Primary), Owen Pollard had explained that since 2014, training programmes were developed and coordinated through the Education Ministry’s Schools’ Health and Welfare Unit.
These programmes allowed welfare officers to be trained in drug prevention strategies and saw parents being educated on coping skills for dealing with children who have been affected by drug use and children are also being sensitised about the dangers of drug use.
At that time, Pollard also said that the Education Ministry had stepped up its surveillance and its education efforts through the establishment of a task force that includes enforcement agencies like the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU).
Meanwhile, in October 2018, acting Head of CANU, Lesley Ramlall said that in the school system, there has been a decrease in the use of cigarettes, cannabis, cocaine and alcohol by children. However, he had noted that from 2017, there was an increase in the use of synthetic drugs.
He had explained that the danger in using synthetic drugs in Guyana is that they are made in makeshift labs under unregulated conditions which affect the consistency of potency in each dose.