Castries, Saint Lucia: Ministry of Public Service– Saint Lucia held a seminar to improve the national response to drug demand and supply. The workshop is geared toward introducing an early warning system for drug threats and trends.
The workshop for stakeholders engaged in the national response to drug demand and supply was conducted by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, with support from OAS/CICAD.
The island has been referred to as one of the leading transhipment points for controlled drugs destined for the United States, Europe and other countries.
The two most widely abused drugs in Saint Lucia are cocaine and cannabis.
The emergence of a new substance- SAACS:
Natasha Lloyd-Felix, an Acting Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Advisory Council Secretariat (SAACS), said, “Many may be eats and treats, including cookies and cakes that contain products that may present a potential risk to health and impair judgment. The early warning system will increase the likelihood of protecting the health and well-being wellbeing of younger ones. We also request that parents heighten their levels of alertness as it relates to young children’s use of social media platforms, as we do note an increased level of creativity in the marketing of these products using popular forums on which young people dialogue and communicate. Through our collective efforts, we can improve the level of protection and preserve the health and wellbeing of our young people and nation as a whole.”
The main target of the workshop is to use the collective approach to initiate an early warning system that will help Saint Lucia to have a more agile and proactive response to present and emerging drug threats.
SAACS appeal to Parents and Guardians:
There is a need for more targeted interventions among the most vulnerable population segments. Due to this, SAACS appealed to parents and guardians to maximize their vigilance to young people with their care and love.
They should have an eye on the purchasing of things and accept them for consumption.
In the words of Felix, “We are also asking for a degree of social media vigilance as well because we know that innovative methods are being used to market these items to reach our young people, which may seem to be normal commercial products but that really contain ingredients that can threaten their health and their safety”.
Alcohol is recorded as the drug most often abused and leading to treatment (45.45 percent), with Marijuana being the second (43.64 percent).
The Government of Saint Lucia stated an initial warning system for drug threats and trends would allow for more rapid and accurate information on new and arising circumstances in the drug market and a rapid evaluation of the risks and impacts associated with the use of new psychoactive substances.