#Jamaica, November 3, 2017 – Kingston – The Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III has successfully implemented the first phase of a Specialized Substance Misuse Treatment programme aimed at providing youngsters with the necessary support to ensure that they can benefit from the entity’s range of educational and employment opportunities.
The programme is being undertaken through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA). It was formed out of a realisation that drug use, particularly abuse of marijuana, has prevented a number of CSJP recipients from accessing vocational skills training and employment offerings, the latter of which includes internships and on-the-job training and placement.
Addressing a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday (October 31), Communications/Social Media Coordinator, CSJP, Patrice Nephew, said the initiative is part of an improvement in the psychosocial services provided by the agency. She noted that while the CSJP seeks to provide youngsters with opportunities, it is acknowledged that until certain issues of substance misuse are treated, their likelihood to gain and maintain viable employment will be very limited.
“This is a preliminary exercise before they go into some of the training sessions, because we have realised that, in the past, the compliance rate with some of the training programmes has been low because of substance abuse issues. So it is a more deliberate attempt to get them in a state of readiness,” Ms. Nephew said.
More than 150 individuals were referred to the NCDA for treatment following risk assessment through the CSJP’s Case Management programme and having been flagged for substance abuse. The NCDA conducted 541 individual sessions and 80 group sessions over a 12-month period starting July 2016. Additional workshops were done in communities and schools to sensitive children and students about marijuana use and to train community volunteers to identify persons in need of treatment.
Sixty-one per cent of the participants were compliant with the sessions and 10.1 per cent tested negative after completion of the treatment programme. NCDA Substance Abuse Officer, Western Region, Suzanne Brown, explained that even though some of the clients may not be negative at the end of the programme, they would have made significant progress.
“What you will find is that a lot of the times, some are chain-smokers, and throughout the programme, you will notice significant reduction in usage,” she told JIS News.
“Persons probably started with back-to-back smoking, and as the session progressed… you will notice that while they have not totally stopped using, they have been able to reduce the number of (marijuana cigarettes) per day,” she added.
Substance Abuse Officer with NCDA, Kingston and St. Andrew, Denise Chin, hailed the programme as being a strong and important initiative.
“It offered a very structured way for participants to receive help and access to treatment facilities and options that they wouldn’t otherwise reach,” she said.
Mrs. Chin said the resource personnel and psychological services offered by the CSJP are critical.