Pubdate: Wed, 01 Nov 2006
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2006 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Petrina Francis, Staff Reporter
Bookmark: (Youth)


Survey Says More Youths Abusing Substances

Alcohol and inhalant abuse continue to be a major problem among young
people, according to a 2006 survey conducted by the National Council
on Drug Abuse (NCDA).

Some 4,536 students ages 11 to 19 from 70 schools across Jamaica were
surveyed in February. One hundred and ninety-two teachers attached to
the selected schools also participated in the survey.

It was found that 71 per cent of students used alcohol, 27 per cent
cigarettes and 28 per cent used solvents and inhalants. Additionally,
while 24 per cent of students used marijuana, 14 per cent tried beady
(nicotine and tar), six per cent used seasoned spliff (a combination
of ganja and other narcotics) and three per cent used cocaine.

Early start

According to the survey, the majority of students started to use drugs
at an early age with 33 per cent reporting alcohol use before age 10.

The council noted that new patterns of drug abuse have emerged with
beady now commonly used and inhalants continue to be abused by females
(34.19 per cent) over males (21.79 per cent).

And while male students continue to use drugs more than females, the
data show a narrowing of the gap between both genders.

The NCDA said peer pressure emerged as the major reason for drug use.
The survey noted that students pointed to stress release and the need
to relax as reasons for drug use. Teachers, the survey said, found
curiosity and experimentation to be important in drug use.

Ellen Campbell-Grizzle, director of information at the NCDA, said
young people do not see alcohol as a drug and collective efforts would
have to be made to ensure that they understand the dangers of alcohol.

Mrs. Campbell-Grizzle told The Gleaner that psychoactive substances
reduce children's life chances and ambition and stunt intellectual

Drug abuse among youths

Alcohol abuse	71%
Use cigarettes	27%
Solvents & inhalants	28%
Marijuana	24%
Nicotine & tar	14%
Seasoned spliff	6%
Cocaine	2%
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MAP posted-by: Derek