Ministry of Education commits to tackling drug abuse in schools
The Ministry of Education and Youth has assured that its intervention will be quickly reinforced and that additional resources will be deployed to fight locally against drug addiction among secondary school students.
The admission by the ministry’s acting permanent secretary, Maureen Dwyer, follows a rapid assessment of the situation on drug use in secondary schools conducted in May, which found that Molly, vaping and edibles are becoming the most popular drugs used by high school students. .
At a press conference where the findings of the assessment were released Thursday, Dwyer said about $20 million had already been set aside to help students change their behavior.
The assessment also revealed that in addition to drug abuse, students observed depression and suicidal ideation among their peers.
“The ministry’s response at this time will need to be strengthened based on the findings here,” Dwyer said.
“…As a ministry, at this time…we had $20 million set aside for behavior modification and counseling. Coming out of COVID, we realized that many of our children had suffered severe challenges in terms of depression and all kinds of other things,” she said.
For her part, the Acting Director of Education, Dr. Kasan Troupe, said guidance counselors on the island will need to be retained to deal with issues relating to drug abuse in secondary schools.
Elaborating, she pointed to a training budget at the Department of Education, “to ensure that our guidance counselors are refreshed and revamped”.
Additionally, she said the deans of disciplines will also need to be reorganized.
“Part of this presentation will certainly be part of a large-scale outreach to our guidance counselors, and our helping professionals in the field.
“So, yes. We need to refocus resources and where we need additional resources in light of what we just heard, we may need to relocate to ensure our students are safe,” said Troop.