Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson, has appealed to those involved in the drug trade to think of their children, girlfriends, mothers and close relatives, when engaging in their behaviour.
He made these comments during an event hosted by the National Council on Substance Abuse as part of the activities to mark Drug Awareness Month, celebrated under the theme We give you the facts, you make the choice.
The Minister lamented that young people seeking help from drug abuse often had a family history of drug abuse. “The family is perhaps the most important mitigating factor in drug abuse. It plays a key part in both preventing and intervening with substance use and misuse,” he said.
He added that young people could also suffer negative consequences from their parents’ substance use; from drug use during pregnancy and also the increased risk of poor parenting by parents who misuse or abuse substances.
He further stressed that research shows that children of such parents were more likely to be at risk than others.
“Our message must therefore start…with our families, because they are the bedrock of our communities. Each family develops its own set of values. If a family’s values are not taught, the children will pick up values on their own. This is where the potential for gang association and other undesirable affiliations can begin. It is therefore important that family members talk about these issues before they become a problem,” he outlined.
Mr. Hinkson urged parents to act in responsible ways by giving their children clear instructions and guidance on how to avoid becoming a statistic as an abuser.
However, the Minister noted that the fight was “so dynamic” that it required a national coordinated strategic approach to contain its negative impacts.