Drug abuse poses a major threat – Health Minister


Below is the full text of an address by Health Minister, Julius Timothy, in observance of Drug Awareness Month 2012.

Fellow Dominicans,

The Ministry of Health through the National Drug Abuse Prevention Unit each year observes January as Drug Awareness Month.  This Year our theme is “My Community…My Choice, No Drugs!!!

As we recall other themes such as “Imagine a life without Drug Abuse,” “Responsibility the key to being drug free,” or Think Health…Not Drugs,” we can appreciate that this year’s theme is an amalgamation of the previous years.

Drug abuse poses a major threat to the security of our homes, our communities and our nation.  Children, youths and adults are being affected by the ills and problems associated with drug use and drug trafficking.

Statistics from the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force showed that in 2010 the following illicit drugs were confiscated 156,988 cannabis trees, 29,143 cannabis seedlings, 633,485grams(cannabis weed)  and 1420 grams of cocaine.  In 2010, 225 nationals were charged with cannabis related crimes, 201 were adult males, 10 adult females, and 14 juveniles consisting of 13 males and 1 female. This is compared to 2009 where 198 nationals were charged, 179 adult males, 12 adult females and 7 male juveniles.  These figures indicate the particular vulnerability of our males to the drug trade.

In 2011 we admitted 445 persons to the Acute Psychiatric Unit of the Princess Margaret Hospital.  Two hundred and forty-seven (247) were treated for marijuana, alcohol and crack related mental health problems. Therefore, more the 55 percent of admissions to the APU were due to the abuse of drugs. Many motor vehicle accidents and uncontrolled Diabetes and Hypertension are secondary to drug abuse.

I therefore want to remind you that smoking of marijuana in particular is not ok. Recently I visited a village in Dominica and what I saw was frightening. About 60 percent of the males between the ages of 12 to 74 were abusing drugs and alcohol.

When able bodied men and women sit in prison, the psychiatric Unit or on the various blocks in our communities and cannot contribute meaningfully to the workforce as a result of their drug use this is cause for concern. Many of these individuals leave children in these communities with little or no support.
While Government has the responsibility to protect and help those at risk, communities must provide the ongoing support for those who have made the choice to remain drug free and to those who have become victims to drug addiction.

Last year the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) themed International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking “Global Action for Healthy Communities without Drugs.” As Community based intervention is one of the prevention strategies to be employed in drug demand reduction efforts.
An African proverb states “It takes a village to raise a child,” hence we believe that society has a responsibility to protect its citizens from the scourge of drug abuse. We all must play our part.  By cultivating refusals and life skills as early as preschool and kindergarten we enable children to make healthy choices as they grow up.

Research has shown that the best approach to prevention and treatment lies in the support of families, schools, churches and community based organisations. This approach seeks to increase the protective factors for building safe and healthy communities.

Fellow Dominicans, there is no one size fit all solution to the challenges brought about by drug use and abuse, drunkenness, marijuana and crack/cocaine is not acceptable  in our neighbourhood, on our streets or in our homes.  In light of this year’s theme I call upon all communities to take action to:

•    Advocate on behalf of stake holders working in the areas of supply reduction, money laundering, prevention and treatment

•    Inform and educate community members on the dangers of drug abuse

•    Support organised anti drug activities in your communities

•    Create spaces where individuals and groups can recreate in an environment free from drugs

•    Provide financial support for projects and programs geared towards prevention and treatment.

•    Increase parental role in early detection of drug use by children

•    Get involved in keeping children and drugs apart

•    Support the work of the National Drug Abuse Prevention Unit.

As we observe Drug Awareness Month 2012, let us make a commitment to keep our communities safe and healthy guided by the theme “My Community….My Choice, No Drugs!!!

Thank you.

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  1. Rastafari
    January 11, 2012

    Julius Timothy, Minister of Health, both you and the chief of Police need to answer the question of who the heck brings all these drugs into our community. You went to a certain “village” and witnessed drug abuse, sure. You have not outlined what is going to be done about over the counter and Pharmaceutical drugs, drugs in our imported foods and juices, cigarette smoking, drugs in our drinking water. You come before the people with a bunch of statistics, but no plan on how to tackle the problem and save the future generations from this very debilitating practice of drug abuse. Come on Julius Timothy, talk to the people! Man up to your responsibility!

  2. January 11, 2012

    And please be aware that there are three AA/NA meetings in Dominica that are currently there to help people that want the help from addiction. There is a meeting in Roseau, Portsmouth and Marigot. The phone numbers can be found in the newspaper classified for alcoholics anonymous.

  3. mervin
    January 10, 2012

    Dominican government need to steep up and do what is right for the people,provid jobs help the needy be more active in their communities

    January 10, 2012

    Such blatant hypocrisy!….Sorry to say, Sir, but no where in your “responsibility” evading, very evasive,lack luster, and very subtle diatribe, did you mentioned once, what social programs your Govt. is implementing,or has implemented to help in the prevention and education of drug abuse.

    We all see where the numbers keep going up, and up from year to year…more people are being arrested for drugs,more people are using and abusing drugs, and more and more drugs are entering the Island; and should I say, more guns, and more crime as well……

    Do you seriously believe that arrests and incarceration will help or curtail drugs,its usage and its abuses?…Well think again…Do you seriously believe that by passing “the buck” to the various communities that it is going to help?…..think again.

    You cannot pass the responsibilities of Government on to the Public…At the end of the day, it is the Tax payers, who have to foot the bill. For; more Police overtime, more Judges and Magistrates, and to house and feed these offenders when they are sentenced to prison…How about when they become “paros”, and are on the streets panhandling,committing,various crimes and are nuisances, defecating and urinating all over the place?…Shouldn’t law abiding Citizens and their properties be protected from them?..Whose responsibilities is it to protect the Rights and Liberties and in this case even properties of Citizens?….What?..I see what you mean.

    The Government has to do more than just arrest them and throw them in jail…Even if some are fined exorbitant sums of money…how, do you believe they are going to acquire that money in order to pay their fines,if not sell more drugs?..eh,…where do you think the money is going to come from….Please, give me a break, who the heck that you guys think you are fooling…
    Are you people devoid of conscience?

    It is high time we look towards education,awareness, and social programs to help combat the use and abuse of drugs in our society…and that in the most part, should be the responsibility of the Government…Government must take the initiatives. Otherwise the results are going to be devastating to our societies and Country as a whole…
    Where are the resources going to come from if not from the Government?.

    I do believe Sir, that you are a smart man. You once were a man of great integrity…Are you still that person?…The “great” Julius Timothy?…How, when, and why, my learned Sir, did you fall from grace?..Or,…haven’t you?.

    But,to some extent,I do sympathize with you. Because I am of the firm belief that you,Sir, are in the wrong field….And that is one of the many problems of this present administration…too many people are in the wrong places….They should be placed in positions, according to their individual expertise….Then, here, again, arises the question of trust and integrity.

    Oh and by the way..sometimes, you have to watch what you say….Weren’t you the same person who said publicly…”Who pays China back for Loans?…no one pays China back for loans”…..
    Remember that?..THAT,was not very smart to say;especially publicly….What?…I see what you mean.

    We all have to play our part…Lets not shift the blame,point fingers,or evade our responsibilities…..Drug abuse is a social issue…Let us treat it as such.

    All the very best to you.


  5. come 2gether
    January 10, 2012

    sir while you outline all these facts, you fail to say what can be done to occupire the time of the ones that are doing drugs, when there’s no work for the people that trust in you to provide uppertunity for them to work,you all give the uppertunity to chines and haitian and then you say whole villages doing drugs,the herb that you persecuting is not the drug,the one that you giving cover is the one thats going to do our nation in.

    • mervin
      January 10, 2012

      ur right abuot that the people who say they are in government and make a vow to take care of their people should work hard for the people who put them in office.

  6. tiny
    January 10, 2012

    The recent court verdict is getting all the attention..so I will repond to this some other time

  7. Roseau
    January 10, 2012

    There is 232 comments on the decision of the court case only 1 on the drugs abuse.

    • cutie
      January 10, 2012

      dats true

    • Patience
      January 10, 2012

      We all see in what Dominicans are interested in.

    • Ole P
      January 11, 2012

      Well Roseau, everyone knows the minister is in effect beating a dead horse. They need to decriminalize marijuana, and let it come out in the open(as it already is in some areas, but illegal)so it won’t pass thru the same channels as the hard drugs. That’s so that they can have resources to effectively stop hard drugs on the island. It’s a no-brainer.

      They concentrate heavily percecuting marijuana while cocaine floods the island, complete with some Venezuelans etc living here for no other reason, and I know it, they know it. So many readers are just ignoring him.

  8. Anonymous
    January 10, 2012

    sir what are you doing or plan to do about the parrows that do their drugs by the riverside in potters ville

    the same area where you play dominoes?

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