Mentally ill abusing drugs: official expresses concern

A leading social worker at the Acute Psychiatric Unit has raised concerns over what he said is an “alarming” increase in the number of admittances at the psychiatric unit for substance abuse.

Dave Laudat told the opening of Drug Awareness month 2010 that substance abuse and mental illness go hand in hand.

“Substance abuse can lead to mental illness and mental illness can lead to substance abuse. There is an increase of persons admitted to the unit who are substance abusers. We are seeing an increasing number of persons being admitted out of psychosis due to substance abuse. We are talking about just the use of drugs and the effect that it has on persons…they get out of touch with reality, being a threat to themselves hence they have to be admitted,” he said.

According to Laudat, mentally ill persons who use drugs will be readmitted more often and have worst outcomes in terms of their functionality, legal status and relationships.

Meantime, Laudat says the stigmatization of mentally ill patients by the community further encourages substance abuse.

“The fact that we still remain highly discriminative against persons with mental illness, the fact that persons are marginalized and opportunities are not afforded to them because of their mental illness; persons who are mentally ill find themselves more readily accepted into society if they are told that they are a ‘paro’ rather than a mental illness. Persons who are mentally ill will naturally gravitate towards drug use as a form of identity,” Laudat explained.

He said treatment continues to be a problem in Dominica. “It is not that persons in authority have refused to provide treatment, but it takes a lot of resources. We have talked about this at every level. I can say that government have shown interest in getting a treatment facility and I am sure that more will be done in that regard,” he said.

He said the staff of the Unit is ready to work towards getting that facility underway because with treatment such persons will have a better chance at rehabilitation.

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  1. January 5, 2010

    I support that most of the frustration and drug habbits going on , is due to unemployment and lack of opportunities.
    Take for instance, in the WoodfordHill, Wesley , Calibishie areas there were just a few handful of rasters around in the 1977…. But the time the Guest Industries Estate closed down , things started to go bad. Now in those places one can find more drug …. or rasters sitting morning ,noon and night by the road sides.. or the block.

    This same trend might occur in the Mahaut area, due to the closure of the factories.

    Pray that things will change for us in the present who are not yet parro….

  2. anony
    January 5, 2010


    • concerned
      May 12, 2010

      excuse me but when people take drugs there are usually reasons behnd it. and i don’t much like the stereotype that you’re putting in place here!

    • Wendy
      May 28, 2010

      Mental illness is a treatable condition, like Diabetes and Hypertension though rarely cured the condition can be successfully maintained with the right balance of medication and psychotheraphy. Society also has to play their part in being supportive of people diagnosed with mental problems whether it was caused by genetic issues or drug induced. We as a socieity need to be less judgemental. Mental illness knows no social barriers, the only difference is that if the family is wealthy they are able to provide better care or have their loved one shipped to the US or some such place away from the prying eyes of others thus perpitrating the response that low socioeconomical status is the fundrmental issues surrounding mental illness and drug abuse. Dominica is in dire need of good acute Psychiatric and Rehabilitation services. There are some excellent medications which can alleviate the symptoms of Depression, Psychosis etc. Many times people use illicit substances, alcohol – to relieve such symptoms- in the field we call it self medicating. Unfortunately it makes the problem far worst and in fact they have added another problem in that they are now dually diagnosed – mentally ill and drug/alcohol abuse. I could go on and on but just know that we each one of us can make a difference. During a recent visit I noticed that the Marijuana leaf is more visibe that the Dominica Flag. It is on clothing being sold by the street vendors, stickers on cars, I even saw it on clothing at Astaphans. This is indoctrination at its highest form. In Dominica you have become desensitized to the images which are corrupting the minds of the young. You look to blame outside influences while you tolerate such blatant drug accepting brainwashing. Do you want to do something? START A CAMPAIGN TO BAN THE MARIJUANA LEAF INSIGNA IN DOMINICA. That would be a start.

  3. Sniper
    January 5, 2010

    Lack of unemployment and poverty, also discrimination of individuals from poltical parties because you did not support their party they fustrate you and prevent you from geting any form of gainful employment. That leads to deppression and some times your only way out is to do druges and crimes which also leads to mental illness. When a young woman or man leaves university and college and get get a job for over a year and still have his family to feed what do you think will happen to this young person. Some people are not that mentally strong and they will be deppress. And our society in Dominica dont give mentally ill patient a secound chance to put themselves back into society. And as i heard from a minister” those who did not support him don’t even think of coming to him for any form of help because he will not assit” when you as a leader says this tthings in the pressence of the youth what examle are you seting. All these things lead the youth to more frustration, because you are surely going to victimize them. so in our society there will always be mental ill people.

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