Dominica is at the top of the list of marijuana use among young people in the Caribbean, according to Health Minister Julius Timothy.
Timothy has been quoting a 2011 study “which showed that Dominica in terms of the youth and tobacco use we were probably the lowest in the Caribbean. But in terms of the youth and marijuana use we were the highest in the Caribbean”.
The health minister says there is a perception that marijuana is a substitute for tobacco.
“I want the population of Dominica to be very clear on this thing, that marijuana is not a substitute for tobacco, because that seems to be a concept these days,” Timothy said.
The minister later told one local radio station that his health experts were telling him that the majority of young men treated at the island’s Psychiatric Unit have gone there because of marijuana-related health problems.
His focus on the use of the illegal drug came as the minister disclosed that the government of Dominica is working on proposed legislation to ban cigarette smoking in public places.
Timothy says efforts are being made to get more Dominicans to stop smoking cigarettes.
He added however that the prevalence of marijuana smoking among young men was also a concern requiring attention.