Alcohol is top drug problem

| 19/04/2009

(CNS): Announcing Cabinet approval for the formation of a plan to tackle drug abuse in the Cayman Islands for the next five years, Joan West-Dacres (left), the Executive Director of the National Drug Council, said that while Cayman’s drugs of choice were ganja, cocaine, tobacco and alcohol, it was the abuse of alcohol which represented the biggest problem to the community. She said the National Anti-Drug Strategy 2009-2013 aims to significantly reduce the prevalence of substance abuse and misuse in Cayman and was particularly timely as risk factors were on the increase.

The plan primarily aims to co-ordinate all of the disparate and independent programmes, activities and initiatives relating to drug misuse, abuse and treatment, to avoid duplication and plug gaps. It will also measure the problem and seek solutions and legislative change where necessary. Explaining its significance, West-Dacres said there was a clear need for a policy that could provide an enhanced strategic and coordinated approach.

“Taking into consideration the ongoing issues of substance abuse, misuse, the social and economic impacts, utilising a broader approach in order to formulate a National Anti-Drug Strategy is now timely,” Dacres said, adding that in spite of deficient data, quantitative indicators of drug use in the Cayman Islands are significantly increasing and there is a notable under-utilization of the institutional care infrastructure organized to handle the drug problem.

She said the NDC, through a consultative process with key stakeholders and guidance from an external consultant, had formulated “A Comprehensive Approach to Drug Control, the National Anti-Drug Strategy (2009-2013)".

“The primary aims of the strategy are to significantly reduce the prevalence of drug use among the Cayman Islands population and to reduce the social harm and health damage it causes in the society,” she added. “It addresses both illegal and legal substances,” she said, later indicating that the misuse and abuse of alcohol was the most problematic issue for the Cayman Islands.

West-Dacres said there were three general objectives to the strategy, which were: preventing illicit drug use, treating those with drug dependencies and combating the availability and distribution of illicit drugs on and within the islands.

Although the strategy is focused on prevention and treatment, law enforcement would still form a major part of the strategy, and while West-Dacres said there would be legislative review, there were no plans to decriminalise any illegal drugs and the policy for zero tolerance would remain. West-Dacres said the strategy would allow for immediate action in some areas, which would in the first year require little or no additional funding, such as the review of legislation, development of best practices and improved collaborative efforts.

Overall, the plan seeks to strengthen and assist families and communities affected by drug abuse; provide a national policy framework for the delivery of a comprehensive drug education programme; guarantee the delivery of treatment and rehabilitation services that meets the needs of the individual; support the supply reduction efforts of law enforcement and interdiction agencies; develop a culture and practice of data collection and dissemination in relation to substance abuse; provide clear indications about the merit and worth of current actions and activities at the local level; encourage multi-agency cooperation and the involvement of civil society and the private sector and the international community.

Minister for Health and Human Services Anthony Eden was also present at the presentation of the plan and said he was pleased that Cabinet had approved the plan. “We are all aware that the misuse of drugs and other substances is not only a problem that affects the abuser, but also impacts every aspect of society and economy, including health care, family life, law enforcement, employment, and the list goes on. As a government we need to do whatever we can to protect the people of the Cayman Islands from the abuse of legal and illegal substances,” he said, adding that it was critical that there was a national commitment to comprehensively address and prevent issues related to drug control and the strategy was a blueprint for the response to the misuse and abuse of both illicit and legal drugs.

The NDC was established in 1997 to co-ordinate the country’s anti-drug measures and came out of a plan approved by the government for the period of 1995-1999,which was not fully implemented. During the presentation of the new strategy, no mention was made of how the NDC had fulfilled its mandate since 1999 save to say that it had for the last ten had oversight of the National Anti-Drug Strategic process and the revision of the National Anti-Drug Strategy (NADS).

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  1. Anonymous says:


    It is amazing that people have taken a good iniative and turned it into political folly. This isn’t about UDP or PPM, this is about people in our community who need help!!  This is not the forum for politics this is a forum for informed and intelligent discussion about the program. Personal attacks are to be taken to the playground, for those children who are still in pre-school! It would almost seem as if having a personal opinion is a cardinal sin!
    Before we make assumptions we should know all the facts. The fact is Mrs. Dacres-West is new to the position and her predecessor did nothing for NDC other than collect a salary. Mrs. West-Dacres has spent considerable time re-working the existing policies of NDC as the old methods was clearly not working. In these circumstances one can not simply take an academic approach to policy writing. Mrs. West-Dacres, is a woman of integrity and would not jeopardize her or the NDCs reputation for political gain!
  2. Anonymous says:

    What is Future Vision’s point?  Recovery rates from treatment centres are always surprisingly low in the opinions of those who have no direct experience of the issues.  But the fact that some of those who attend recover at all is a miracle in itself.  Ask them, ask their families, ask the police who no longer have to attend their behaviour. 

    The appropriate question is "How does Caribbean Haven perform compared to other similar centres".

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t people leave Politics and People personal life alone. So what if UDP/PPM go and have a drink on THEIR TIME. Shut up and get a life, there’s nothing wrong with buying a friend a drink and having a ggod time. U don’t have to go bar room and drink and carry on. I am so sick of hearing UDP and PPM putting down each other about oh we did this and oh we did that, a bunch of caymanians against each other will never get us no where come May 20th. Try so look at the future for your children growing up. Alcohol is the least of the problems in the Cayman Islands right now, we need to come together and do what is good for our country like solving murders and taking drugs off the streets. Alcohol of all things.Sometimes i wonder if people really have anything to do at certain government jobs.

    It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

  4. Future Vision says:

    The question is yet to be answered WHAT IS THE RECOVERY RATE ??

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why is it all about these STUPID parties? Give us a break here.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What is the recovery rate from Caribbean Haven?

    If a major focus on those addicted in Cayman is treatment, what is the recovery rate?

  7. Anonymous says:

    just go to "over the edge" at the weekend – you will see Tibbetts as drunk as a lord – is this the sort of example we want

    • Anonymous says:

      I have never read in the bible that the Lord was drunk?  You assume that Tibbetts is drunk have you tested him?  and which Tibbetts is this and what are you doing over the edge on weekends?  Sounds like you have a problem and is trying to find company, please try and get some help.

      • Anonymous says:

        To "I have never read in the Bible"  – I referred to "a lord" not THE Lord.  It is an old fashioned english expression referring to the fact that the enobled in England were frequently drunk.  Get your nose out of the bible and get educated.  As for which Tibbetts – it was LOGB – as for needing help I don’t think so.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why is it this is the first time in 4 years we have heard anthing from the NDC?

  9. Disappointed, but hopeful says:

    We need to target the known drug dealers and increase the sentences once convicted.  Remove the parole/early release/etc. as these are all seen as easy escapes for those who commit the crime and really don’t do the time.  

    A young person who’s headed in the direction of being a drug user or seller (or both) needs to have a definite visible consequence to deter them from proceeding in that direction.  It seems these days we can’t depend on parents to protect and prepare their children against this sort of lifestyle.

    If the criminals aren’t caught and put in jail for their full sentences, the young people see it as a joke – they see it as if they won’t get caught, and if they do they won’t be convicted or won’t have to spend much time in jail.  We need to raise them with more respect for themselves, but until that happens we need them to see that our country doesn’t take drug use or illegal drugs as a joke and that if you do it, you’ll get in serious trouble for it. 

    I support Ms. West-Dacres in her goals and objectives with this plan, and would only hope that the necessary support and backup is given to her by the other various governmental agencies.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Drug abuse is a major concern here as it is everwhere in the world. I am happy to see some effort being made to curb the problem on our side.

    Alcohol could be the biggest problem as it is the legal one. Handling these problems most times results in a doubleedged effect, for example, restrictions may cause less alcohol use but may alos contribute to higher usage of illegal drugs.

    I dohowever support some restrictions to alcohol especially for young people and especially young drivers. Since people are unable to be responsible, for the sake of other people’s safety, sometimes you have to responsible for them.



  11. Anonymous says:

    Yes we know that alcohol is a major problem especially in n/side,check out the bars on weekends,the whole ppm gang is up buying all a drink.
    Will they seek help to combat their disease.

    • Anonymous says:

      At least the PPM does’t try to hide their drinking by going to the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos like some other people we know. Its more than the PPM that needs help in this area. Look around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Having a social drink does not make you an alcoholic, and people with alcohol problems does not do any WORK.  The PPM WORK hard look around you.  

      UDP are at bars too and buy drinks for people at the bar .