#Providenciales, June 26, 2018 – Turks and Caicos – Annually the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence within the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services joins the global celebration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADAIT) on June 26th, which seeks to bring attention to the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. The importance of a drug free country cannot be underestimated; health i.e. physical or mental, as well as financial and social burdens will be significantly reduce if demand and supply of these substances are weakened.
Substance use disorders accounted for 10.58% of the population receiving treatment in the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) in 2017, which reflects an increase from the previous year’s 4.96%. While this finding does indicate that more persons are seeking assistance, it pushes to the forefront the importance of continuing in the fight against drugs. Drug use trends for last year further indicated that: illicit drug use among teenagers remains a concern largely due to the popularity of marijuana; young people referred to the Department are showing less disapproval of marijuana use and decreased perception that marijuana is dangerous; fewer teens smoke cigarettes than those who smoke marijuana; and alcohol use among teens remains a high concern.
To combat the abuse of drugs and alcohol within the TCI, there has been a number of developments within the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence in recent years, such as: the implementation of the Tobacco Control Ordinance, Tobacco Control Regulations and Policy; the appointment of additional staff to the field i.e. a Psychiatrist, Mental Health Nurses and Substance Abuse Counselors; Increased domestic and international training for staff and frontline personnel. In addition, the Department is also focused on the following initiatives to address substance abuse: Monitor local and international substance use trends and develop prevention policies; ensure that legislation/regulations are being enforced; provide appropriate cessation treatments; enhance awareness campaigns and increase presence in schools and communities as it has been found to reduce usage by 25 percent in other populations.
Activities being held in observance of (IDADAIT) will include the following:
- School and Community Outreach
- Launch of ‘The Couch’ Radio Program – 21st June, 2018 (Tropical Vibes Radio Station)
- Appearance on Health Matters – 25th June, 2018
- Substance Use Screenings – 26th June, 2018, 9:00am -12:00 noon ( Locations: In front of Grace Way Smart, Down Town Providenciales and Do It Center, Grand Turk)
- Anti-drug ambassador & Comic Strip Art Competition – 26th June to 17th August, 2018
- Color Run – 29th June, 2018 (North Caicos)
- National Art Exhibit ‘The Truth About Drugs’ – 20th to 31st August, 2018
For more information on International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking, or for assistance contact the Department of Mental Health & Substance Dependence, on the following numbers; 338-3613 Grand Turk, 338-4737 Providenciales www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD