The Life Reform, an organisation registered under the Ministry of the Presidency, was launched on Tuesday and its main goal is to address the issues of substance abuse affecting youths in Guyana.
The Life Reform – Making Strides to Save Lives, was created with the intention of bringing about the transformation that is urgently needed in Guyana in relation to issues such as the abuse of illicit substances by youths.
According to the organisation, data from research studies in Guyana shows young people are the most vulnerable group to substance abuse and first use has been recorded in the 10-14 years’ age group.
Chairman of the organisation, Phillip Drayton, during a simple launching ceremony at the Racquet Centre on Tuesday revealed that research has shown that some 70 per cent of youths in today’s society believe it is okay to smoke or consume alcohol. He added that 35 per cent of parents are consuming mood and mind altering substances and 80 per cent of society does not understand the real dangers of substance misuse.
“Our members began to work towards a free Guyana by engaging our certified and experienced drug treatment specialists, social workers, counsellors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who will assist the general public and persons suffering from substance misuse or any form of mental illness to determine the level of treatment necessary for each individual and intervention necessary for each individual so that misuse can be arrested and recovery can become possible,” Drayton explained.
He pointed out that Life Reform will soon be rolling out awareness campaigns focusing on drug education and prevention programmes and outpatient services including regular and programmed meetings countrywide.
A major project which Life Reform is focused on is the Secondary School Drug Education and Prevention Programme, a life skills programme which teaches the necessary skills to assist young people to improve their knowledge and to encourage the development of defensible values.
This programme, he said, was introduced to the Education Ministry and permission was granted for Life Reform to commence its campaigns in Georgetown and all other regions of Guyana.
Drayton encouraged the public to join its journey for a Drug Free Guyana as its members stand ready to collaborate with all interested individuals and groups.
Meanwhile, Trevor Hollenkirk, a recovering addict who has been clean for 20 years, is also a part of the Executive Committee for Life Reform and a counsellor. He shared his experience and the hardships he endured as an addict and hopes his story will touch the lives of others who are struggling with substance abuse.
He has travelled throughout the country educating persons of the dangers of substance abuse and sharing his story with vulnerable groups. He related how he managed to change his life for the better after battling with substance abuse from the age of 11 years. He is confident that the organisation will serve its intended purpose with success. He urged youths to refrain from the use of illicit drugs and alcohol. “For those of you youths that might want to try marijuana. Put it down right now. It does nothing for you but destroy your life. It doesn’t help you with school work or in any other area. Leave it right where it is,” he urged.
Also part of the Executive Committee of Life Reform are Lavern Fraser, the Secretary; and Kasper Carter, Vice Chairman, who were all in attendance at the launch. Moderator Kirt Jardine expressed gratitude for the establishment of such an organisation which he is confident will impact positively on the lives of those battling substance abuse and Guyana on the whole.