The findings of a recent substance abuse assessment in Jamaica’s network of schools paint a bleak picture as students increasingly turn to drugs to cope with a myriad of systemic and societal issues.
Presented by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) on Thursday (September 1), the Rapid Situation Assessment on Substance Use and Urgent Issues in Secondary Schools report found that molly, vaping and marijuana edibles are taking over schools nationally.
Uki Atkinson, a research analyst at the NCDA, explained that the substance abuse ‘epidemic’ in schools is wide-reaching and affects nearly ‘every institution’—from urban spaces to rural facilities and those even more remote and cut off.
For a subset of the society at a critical development stage in life, the report shows that Jamaica’s most vulnerable are reeling from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, high levels of crime and violence and other psycho-social issues.
The assessment is a cause for concern and demands a comprehensive response from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, with portfolio minister Dr Christopher Tufton leading the charge in tackling the availability of these increasingly popular drugs and products.