This Saturday, 26 June 2010, Cayman will join the international community in observing International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
This international drive encourages young people to take charge and aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society and especially to young people. With the theme Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs, campaign organizers hope to inspire people to say no to drugs while also mobilizing support for worldwide drug control.
In support of the international campaign, Youth Minister the Hon. Mark Scotland, JP, stated: "Drugs have a devastating impact on individuals, families, communities and society as a whole. As such, our Government will continue to support the National Drug Council (NDC)'s efforts against illicit drug use."
He also encouraged parents to talk to their children about the negative impacts of drug abuse, and urged students to take control of their lives by specifically adopting the last part of the campaign slogan: No place for drugs.
"Teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable to using illicit drugs. Many times they are subjected to strong peer pressure to experiment with illicit drugs. Moreover, young people tend to be either misinformed or insufficiently aware of the health risks involved in using drugs," Minister Scotland noted.
He continued: "Drug and alcohol abuse is a grave problem in our society that can be prevented, treated and controlled. While efforts to reduce supply are ongoing, we must also support those agencies working to reduce the demand, and I give my full support to the NDC so that they can continue their good work."
Global research shows that the prevalence of drug use among young people is more than twice as high as that among the general population. In addition, the Cayman Islands Student Drug Use Survey (CISDUS), a study in effect since 1998, supports the need to raise awareness among youth.
Established to coordinate government's efforts to reduce local drug supply and demand, the NDC will continue to be on the frontlines in the fight against drug abuse, said NDC Executive Director Joan West-Dacres. "Research continues to be a guiding force in formulating our national policies. In addition, looking at current trends is equally vital. We will continue to focus our energies on protecting our teenagers and young adults."
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was established by the United Nations in 1987. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) continues to lead the international campaign aimed at raising awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society and especially to young people. It is everyone responsibility to ensure that children and youth in our communities grow up in a society free of drugs.