Thirty seven persons are now certified by the Mona Campus in Jamaica of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to administer drug control and preventative measures in Grenada after participating in a 6-month training session, which culminated in March.
A certification ceremony for the Caribbean Prevention, Treatment Training and Certification Program (PROCCER) was held last week Thursday at the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development Conference room, in Tanteen, St. George.
PROCCER is an inter-agency and inter-disciplinary program in the Caribbean for the development and institutionalisation of training and certification mechanisms for drug prevention and treatment personnel.
It is implemented by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organisation of American States (OAS), and is aimed at strengthening and consolidating ongoing programmes in the region and giving support to the hemispheric drug strategy as adopted by member states of the hemispheric body in May 2010.
Head of the Drug Control Unit and member of the PROCCER Regional Advisory Body, Dave Alexander said the trainees will use their skills to develop the country’s first Drug Prevention programme to deal with the issue of drug use among the population.
He noted that the majority of persons arrested and charged on the island for drug offences are in the 35 and over age group.
“What we know is that these persons generally would have started drug use at a very young age somewhere in their teens or early 20s,” he said, adding that in terms of treatment “you tend to see them 10, 15, 20 years later, when the problem is really manifested.”
According to Alexander, in terms of the student population, “at least 72% of secondary school students have tried alcohol at least once…but when we break it down to how many of them would have used it in the past 30 days prior to our research, we found that to be 30.”
He said, “these are the ones that we really need to focus quite a bit on.
Alexander identified the second main drug that students in Grenada use is cigarettes, followed by marijuana.
“If you extend it (substance abuse) to the general population again it would be alcohol followed by marijuana and tobacco et cetera”, he said.
Alexander disclosed that the development of a programme to address the issue of substance abuse will follow a special module and will be closely monitored by the Drug Control Secretariat.
He said the skills acquired during the 6-month training programme “can also be used to design any other programme, whether it is in HIV prevention, fire prevention” and the formula is the same.
Alexander said the Secretariat is also “looking to the OAS for support in another phase of training focusing on the treatment and rehabilitation.”