OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Concerned by a spike in the number of students in St Ann using illicit drugs, the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) will be taking its latest message to schools in the parish as of November 16. Molly, the mood-altering party pill, is among the drugs on their radar.
“There has been an increase since the COVID-19 pandemic. What we’re seeing are a number of students and since from… September this school year I have had more than 20 — which is not normal — being referred from schools across the parish for drug misuse,” said substance abuse officer for St Ann Nordia Henry.
“What we’re seeing are the new emerging substances like the Molly and the vaping and the edibles… There has been a slight increase… To what percentage I can’t speak to that but I can say that there has been an increase in what we’re seeing, particularly for our adolescents,” she added.
Ferncourt High will be the first school visited by the NCDA in St Ann as part of activities being staged across the country to mark Drug Awareness Month this year.
“We’re embarking on a school tour. I cannot give you dates and names of [all] schools right now where we’re going to be, but I know that we will be in a few schools across the island. We’ll go in for the day and we’ll engage the students,” she said.
Sessions will focus on student behaviour and conduct while discussing the wider issue of substance misuse.
“Discussions… will include principals, guidance counsellors, deans of discipline just to be able to come up with strategies to mitigate against what we’re seeing as it relates to substances misuse and student conduct,” said Henry.