Men continue to outnumber women in the areas of drug usage and drug possession, and according to the Barbados Drug Information Network’s (BARDIN) findings, the drug of choice was marijuana especially among young persons and the adult population.

Statistics for the period January to December 2011 also revealed that young people between the ages of 13 to 17 have used alcohol at least once, while approximately 178 school children were admitted during that period to the Edna Nicholls Centre, a Centre known for providing rehabilitative services for secondary school students who were either suspended, expelled or referred to that institution, with 17.4 per cent of students being tested for marijuana.

Research and Information Officer at the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA), Johnathan Yearwood, made these disclosures today during a presentation of the NCSA’s Findings of the BARDIN Report 2011 at the Savannah Hotel.

In the presence of attendees, including officials from the Ministry of Health, Chairman of the NCSA, Mr. Laurence Clarke, and OAS representative, Francis McBarnette, he said that persons who were also admitted to the Government Industrial School, would have gone through testing for drug use, and out of the 25 persons tested for the year, four of them tested positive for marijuana use.

Mr. Yearwood pointed out that these findings would have covered areas related to not only treatment but also connected to sentencing and the Court System of dealing with drug dependent offenders.

He said: "When we look at the whole context of drug related offenders, treatment and rehabilitation, these concepts are used to drive drug policy; and drug policy in respect of dealing with treatment and rehabilitation comes from a belief as to why people use drugs; how society can change the behaviour of drug users; and these broad concepts are divided into deterrents and rehabilitation."

Stating that the dominant age group for drug admissions was males between 21 and 35 years, the Research and Information Officer explained that when he assessed the period between 2005 and 2012, the data from the period January to December 2011 in the BARDIN report … the majority of the drug related treatment was marijuana, with 26 per cent usage; 12 per cent alcohol and 10 per cent cocaine.

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