Categorized | National News

Stats: Drug Abuse on the Rise Throughout Caribbean

Statistical indicators such as admission rates to treatment facilities and drug arrests prove that illegal drug use and abuse have increased in countries across The Caribbean since the 1990s.

Officials said, however, that data collection, which is critically important to arresting this problem, has not kept apace.

However, regional stakeholders are determined to use a training seminar as a catalyst to keep better record of those who struggle with the abuses of drugs and alcohol.

“There must better cohesion in our drug control efforts to reduce the supply, to curb the demand, to disrupt the trafficking of drugs and ultimately promote healthy drug free life-styles. Here in The Bahamas, there is a need for improved networking between and among agencies engaged in drug treatment,” State Minister for National Security Keith Bell said yesterday while addressing the opening of a training seminar on drug and alcohol data collection at the Public Treasury.

The seminar is aimed at implementing a standardised data collection system for drug and alcohol treatment agencies in the Caribbean.

“As partners and stakeholders with OAS and CICAD, we share the responsibility to gather better data,” Minister Bell noted. “The executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the 2011 the World Drug Report noted that a lack of comprehensive data continues to obstruct our full understanding of the markets for illicit drugs.

“He points out that more comprehensive data collection allows for more and better analysis, which in turn enriches our responses to the world drug challenge. He went on to urge countries to strengthen their efforts to collect data on illicit drugs in order to strengthen our research and analysis, better understand the drug phenomenon and pinpoint areas where interventions are most likely to achieve positive results.”

Minister Bell added that on the other hand, a lack of comparable alcohol and other drug treatment data undermines the overall effectiveness of the services that are offered to citizens.

“I am advised that the standardised data collection system that is to be shared during this training seminar is designed to collect data and generate information from all facilities, both public and private sectors, in our various territories, that provide substance abuse treatment. The data captured can assist in assessing the nature and extent of services provided, analyse general treatment services trends, and assist in forecasting treatment resource requirements,” he said.

“…The Bahamas to the ongoing process of creating a Bahamas that is free of illicit drugs and drug abuse. Workshops such as this one will sharpen our tools as we seek to achieve this goal.”

The OAS/CICAD organised and facilitated the training seminar.

It was funded by the Canadian government.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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