Substance abuse workshop

Substance abuse workshop raises awareness

November 19, 2007

Turks & Caicos Weekly News

THE devastating impact of substance abuse on the family was discussed and debated during a two-day workshop in Grand Turk last week.

People from across the Island attended National Drug Unit’s Focus on the Family workshop.

The event was set up in an effort to increase awareness of the social problems that result from alcohol and drug abuse.

Earle Fulford, under secretary in the Ministry of Human Services, said that it was his hope that serious attention would be paid to the negative impact of substance abuse.

“While the workshop focused on the impact substance abuse has on the family, you no doubt have to consider the impact on the wider community and most importantly the youth and solution for eradication and rehabilitation,” he said.

“I wish to remind everyone that substance abuse has no boundaries.

“We need to show more love for each other and work together for the preservation of our most valuable resource which is the family.”

Mr Fulford added that he hoped that workshop participants had obtained the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to make the TCI a drug free society.

The National Drug Unit has declared November as Alcohol Awareness Month, which is being observed under the theme Alcohol is a Drug.

National Drug Unit director the Reverend John Malcolm described the workshop as “a timely one.”

He said that in March of last year, his department in collaboration with the Drug Prevention Foundation, conducted a secondary schools survey and the statistics of the report were quite startling.

He added that the problem of alcohol use among students in the Islands’ secondary schools is alarming.

According to the report seven out of 10 students reported having tried alcohol in their lifetime.

Thirty-five per cent reported using alcohol in the past year while 17 per cent or one in every six students reported using it in the last 30 days.

The Reverend Malcolm said that a very progressive piece of legislation has been presented to the House of Assembly that will bring about the transition of the National Drug Council from its present composition to that of being a statutory body.

He said: “This in itself will provide the council with direct access to international and regional resources, which will enable us to increase and enhance the programmes and services that we offer.

“This piece of legislation is a bold initiative on part of the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands – it is an indication that the Government is hearing our cries”.

The Government has allocated 10 acres of land and $450,000 for the construction of a halfway house and rehabilitation centre in Providenciales.

Governor Richard Tauwhare, patron of the National Drug Prevention Foundation, said: “The threat from substance abuse is indeed an insidious one.

“It is not always apparent on the surface but it is of course a worldwide problem.”

He added: “It is a threat to individuals, their health, their future; it is a threat to families, communities and indeed a threat to the country as a whole.”

Also attending the workshop were Eric Fox, director of Teen Challenge Bahamas, and Kimberly Jackson, director of the National Drug Unit Bermuda.

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