Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams (centre) and NCSA officials pose with key stakeholders who contributed to the 10th annual Barbados Drug Information Network (BARDIN) report. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The 10th annual Barbados Drug Information Network (BARDIN) report will influence Government policies and address the challenges with the use and abuse of illegal substances in Barbados.

Minister of Home Affairs and Information, Wilfred Abrahams, underscored the importance of having the report during an awards ceremony for key stakeholders who contributed to the report, at the Ministry’s Wildey, St. Michael office today.

“The BARDIN report presents the Government, presents me, presents all the stakeholders with scientific evidence-based reporting and conclusions that allow us to form policy that best addresses what it is that we need to address,” he stated.

He explained that it would also enable persons to recognise that they were not just dealing with substances such as alcohol and marijuana, but also other methamphetamines and other drugs that were creeping in.

Mr. Abrahams lamented that too often people had a “knee jerk reaction” to situations which may appear one way, but then recognise at a later stage that it was linked to something else.

However, he noted the report allowed policymakers to consider all the parameters and factors to make a scientific assessment of what the problems were, what drugs are used in Barbados, and the age, gender and socio-economic classification of persons who used them.

“So, that the approach we use to reduce drug consumption or drug abuse in Barbados, and that the law enforcement agencies use in enforcing the laws in relation to drug abuse or drug use, is not guesswork, but it is targeted, and… fact-based, productive work,” Mr. Abrahams emphasised.

The Minister also commended the stakeholders for committing to the project and submitting information which would provide the country with valuable information.

Deputy Manager of the National Council on Substance Abuse, Troy Wickham, explained that BARDIN was one of the oldest, well-established drug information networks in the region, since its start in 2003.

“We started with a small core of contributing agencies and a limited number of indicators. And today, our reports are double the size of our first publication – an indication of the extent to which BARDIN has expanded, both in terms of data and contributors.

“The result is a comprehensive document which provides a bird’s eye view of the local drug situation,” he said.

Agencies which contribute information to the BARDIN report are: The Edna Nicholls Centre; the Psychiatric Hospital; the Substance Abuse Foundation; the Centre for Counselling Addition and Support Alternatives; the Barbados Prison Service; the Barbados Police Service; the Government Industrial School; the Financial Intelligence Unit; the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit, and the Ministry.

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