Director of the National Council on Substance Abuse, Yolande Forde (right), and the NCSA’s Community Programme Officer, Makeada Greenidge, speak to the media following the youth seminar.
(A. Miller/BGIS)

With reports indicating that the use of illegal drugs amongst teenagers, especially 13 to 15 years old, is ???on the rise’, a government agency is urging young people to make sensible and informed choices in an attempt to crack down on drug usage in this country.

Speaking this morning at the Barbados Workers Union, Harmony Hall, St. Michael at the 3rd National Youth Seminar on Drugs entitled: You! Me! Choose To Make Barbados Drug Free!, Director of the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA), Yolande Forde, told the young persons gathered that "a critical part of making sensible choices in life…is having the facts…knowing the truth about a particular thing or situation."

She told the students that the future of Barbados rested upon them, and in order to be part of this country’s success story, they must be able to make sensible decisions and must be able to make those decisions at their age – 13, 14 and 15 years old.

The Director also challenged the teachers and guidance counselors, calling on them to play a vital role in steering their wards on the right path.

"We need to create an environment in our schools where students have positive peer support to counteract the negative peer pressure," she said, while adding that "this is what today is about.?? It is a time to share important information with you, to tell you the truth about "weed" – the risks and dangers associated with its use; to tell you why alcohol is a drug – how it works in the body and the brain, what causes the "high" that you get from these substances and how that presents harm to you," she declared.

Meanwhile, Coordinator of the event and Community Programme Officer at the NCSA, Makeada Greenidge, explained that this year’s youth seminar is one of dance, drama as well as interactive sessions with Detective/Constable Marshall of the Royal Barbados Police Force.??

Explaining that the seminar followed this format as a means of keeping the students engaged, the Community Programme Officer pointed out that they were focusing on positive peer support, to show that young people could positively impact their peers.

Citing that they were mainly targeting third formers, the NCSA officer indicated that "research showed that they are at an integral age of being impacted and being negatively influenced and also at that adolescent stage of decision making …so again that cross-road can put them in danger of using and or abusing any substances," she expounded.


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