Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has expressed concern about an increasing number of people engaging in substance abuse from an early age.
Brathwaite, who is also the Minister of Home Affairs, was speaking at the launch of Drug Awareness Month, held at the Black Rock Wesleyan Holiness Church this morning.
He noted that young people were not only engaging in substance abuse earlier but were also using illegal drugs such as crack and cocaine.
“Based on my information in terms of the young people that come into contact with the justice system as a result of abuse of substances, it is not even just the alcohol and marijuana but the hard substances like crack and cocaine so it is a real issue for us as a country and a society,” Brathwaite said.
The Attorney General stressed that the legalization of illegal narcotics such as marijuana must be carefully analyzed and discussed, taking into consideration the adverse effects they have on the country’s youth.
“We have to ensure that whatever the situation that we take them in recognition of our responsibilities as a society to protect our young people,” he stressed.
With a record 29 gun-related murders in 2017, Minister Brathwaite also expressed concern that a large number of the murders which occurred were directly or indirectly linked to drugs.
He further revealed that research has identified that the majority of the young men who appeared before the courts were under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or cocaine when they committed the offence, with approximately 30 per cent of the inmates at the Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds being substance abusers at the time they entered.
Brathwaite called on the public and the church to collaborate in the fight against substance abuse.
Manager of the National Council on Substance Abuse Betty Hunte also urged all sections of society to play a part.
“We as parents and adults have to take responsibility. Too often we as adults ask ‘how them get so’, we put them so,” said Hunte.