PLANS are being made to involve the public transportation sector and less-targeted groups in the fight against drug abuse and misuse, the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) revealed on Monday.
Executive director at NCDA Michael Tucker said while there is interest to collaborate with the transport sector, it will be challenging to work with the group.
“There have been discussions about engaging taxi drivers and bus drivers which is a difficult group to corral,” he said during the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.
“It is a good suggestion and we need to follow up with them on how we can really find them at one particular spot, maybe a general meeting of that group in any particular point in time. Many drivers you will see with a spliff and a Red Bull in hand in the morning which is their regular breakfast. It will take some time in behaviour change and change of attitudes, and a number of other things. It is an interesting challenge,” said Tucker.
Sharing a similar point, research analyst at NCDA Uki Atkinson said, “In the segmented audience I don’t think we have included that group, but certainly we recognise that it is a an important group.”
At the same time, Atkinson noted that the NCDA is being required to build capacity among groups that have not received much focus before.
“For instance, people with disabilities, we recently got a request from Abilities Foundation to be able to focus on their population, because they are also seeing an increase in the use of substances and the elderly as well, which we got from the National Council for Senior Citizens,” she said.
“We recognise that this is just not a youth issue, it is happening among different groups in our society, so there needs to be a broad-based approach to be able to tackle it,” she added.
In the meantime, the NCDA has embarked on targeting schools, through a tour in recognition of Drug Awareness Month. The first stop was Jose Marti Technical High School, where approximately 2,000 students from the institution were registered and joined by students from several schools across St Catherine and Clarendon. (See related story on Page 7)
â€” Brittny Hutchinson