Church not exempt as families being torn apart by children’s drug use

THE families of children who have been experimenting with drugs — some of whom are now grappling with depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies and cutting — are imploding, an officer of the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) has disclosed.

“We are seeing that brokenness and what is happening, families are being torn apart left, right and centre because nobody talks anymore, nobody can understand [each other]. People are becoming angry; mothers are becoming agitated and broken and bitter and want police to come and take them out of the place and find somewhere to put them. Sometimes we get the calls to come for them but the truth is we don’t have anywhere to put them; they are struggling,” the representative who was speaking during an awareness session involving church leaders from several parishes, recently said.

The seminar is one of several being planned for the NCDA’s central region which includes St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth as the entity tries to garner the support of churches in spreading the prevention message.

The NCDA official who said “youngsters [are] getting high” on mixtures they concoct using candy and a popular over-the-counter medication as well as Molly (o/c ecstasy), a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception, warned that the Church is no longer exempt as users are in the pews as well.

“A number of our young people from our churches are vaping and they are drinking alcohol. Edibles have become very prevalent but what is trending now are alcohol gummies. Alcohol gummies are trending big time. Alcohol gummies are sold for just $100 per pack. About ten in the bag…some creative mind with a heart that is not so godly discovered a way so they are now soaking the gummy bears in alcohol and they are now selling them,” she told participants.

“Some of our children love them so much they are buying one bag of gummy bears each evening after school. What are we seeing as a result? Depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, children cutting themselves, don’t want to go to school, can’t function,” she expounded further.

“I am appealing to the Church that we pay attention to our young people. I know for many churches the young people are gone. After [COVID-19] many of our young people are not there but we have to try to find a way to get them to come back. They need ears that will listen without criticising them. Our young people don’t trust anybody anymore,” the NCDA official said.

She said the council is hopeful that the churches will “stand in the gap” as partners and mentors, as it goes forward.

“Identify the risk factors early so that you can reach out to the National Council on Drug Abuse so that we can offer the help…so that we can reclaim our families. So many families are hurting and hurting so badly because we are self-medicating to deal with our stressors. If the family is affected, the Church is affected; and if the Church is affected, the world is in greater trouble,” the official stated.

In the meantime she said the council has also been finding that “bullying is increasing in schools and, because of that, extortion is increasing in schools” as more children turn to substances.

“Our young people are experimenting, and we are having more and more trouble. It’s not only lurking now, but they are also right here,” she stated. According to the NCDA representative, although one Molly tablet is sold for $2,500 or $3,000, young people are purchasing. In a survey conducted by the NCDA some youngsters disclosed that vape can be concealed in pens and taken to school without being detected.

The NCDA is responsible for formulating and developing plans and projects for the prevention of drug abuse as well as the abatement and rehabilitation of drug abuse victims. It also conducts drug tests for individuals and organisations, conducts drug counselling and research, and forms part of the rehabilitation team within the penal system.

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