Law enforcement officials here continue their fight against illicit drugs by working through young people.
Twelve new officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) have joined the youth drug awareness programme, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE).
Assistant Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce, in an address last Friday at the end of a DARE officer-training course, said the programme was part of the Force’s drug fighting agenda.
“We recognize the need to add value through robust community focus and school liaison programmes as well as programmes like DARE, therefore acknowledging the need for specially trained officers,” Boyce said.
He added that drug-related offences accounted for 21 per cent of recorded crimes, stressing the difficult task officers had in keeping the country’s youth off illegal drugs.
“The officers before me have a difficult task, especially in this present environment, when there is conversation on decriminalization of marijuana and cannabis. So you will be challenged by youngsters, because the environment they live in is often heavily influenced by drugs,” the Assistant Commissioner added.
Meantime, Station Sergeant Roland Cobbler, one of the facilitators and mentors of the course, spoke of the drug culture and the impact it had on young people.
“In today’s society where the drug culture is noticeably having a significant influence on the lives of the youth, a comprehensive approach is necessary in the fight against drugs. Drug eradication exercises conducted by law enforcement officials must be supported by a stringent educational component,” Cobbler stressed.
The programme was re-engineered and has replaced long drug fact laden lectures with interactive lessons without reducing its content, Cobbler said.
“DARE provides children with the necessary knowledge and skills aimed at preventing drug use by developing basic skills for safe and responsible decision making,” he emphasized.