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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Feb 4, CMC – The first of two regional workshops aimed at building the capacity of organisations working with young people in the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries with problematic drug use, began here on Monday with a senior official of the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat emphasising the critical link between human resource and economic development.
CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Dr. Douglas Slater, said in this regard, emphasised the importance of treatment and rehabilitation for persons with problematic drug use and misuse.
He told delegates attending the Regional Adolescent Training Workshop that attention must be paid to the dire impact of drug use on adolescents and the youth population which he described as the “reality” of the region.
The workshop is being organised by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organisation of American States and the Ministry of National Security National Drug Council here.
It is being facilitated with the support of the European Union/ CARIFORUM Crime and Security Programme.
Slater, cited figures provided by a 2010 study that showed young people represented more than 60 per cent of CARICOM’s population.
He said the findings of the 2016 school drug survey conducted by CICAD showed “drug use is known to be causally related to a variety of physical and mental health problems: crime, poor school performance, family disruption”.
The Assistant Secretary General expressed particular concern that the findings also indicated an increase in drug use to an earlier the 2010 survey and a decline in the age of first and the perception of harm associated with drug use.
He said given these and similar findings, interventions such as the Regional Training Workshops were required for young people and by extension the entire region, noting that the “development of our human resource was necessary to advance our economic development”.
The organisers said the “Crime and Security Programme” has three components including drug demand and supply reduction; crime and violence prevention and social development; and capacity building of law enforcement and security agencies and enhanced cooperation with third states.
“These workshops are in response to gaps identified under the ninth European Development Fund, which indicated that treatment and rehabilitation programmes and services, particularly for adolescents and youth were needed. As such, the objective of the workshop is to strengthen the capabilities of persons working with adolescents and youth to understand and appropriately respond to those who are using or misusing substances,” the organisers said in a statement.