More kids say no to drugs

| 19/05/2011

(CNS): Despite concerns of increasing drug misuse among young people and perceptions that many students are spiralling into out of control drinking, on average well over half the kids in the Cayman Islands said that they had not consumed any booze, ganja, cigarettes or any other drugs in the last year. According to the results of the National Drug Council’s latest survey, which was conducted last year among students from years 7 through to 12, 54% of kids are clean. This is a significant increase on the number of kids staying away from drugs in the previous 2006 survey, when only around 42% of students said they did not use any drug, including alcohol or tobacco.

It is four years since the last survey conducted by the NDC and given global trends and perceptions of alcohol and drug misuse among young people, the results show that in general abuse among kids in most cases is not getting worse and more kids are defying trends by staying clean. Although there was an increase in the numbers of kids using ganja, and worrying trends in binge drinking, most kids say they don’t use drugs of any kind.

When it comes to serious class A drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, LSD and methamphetamine, less than 2% of young people here said they had ever tried these types of drugs in their lives and a fraction of 1% said they had used any of them in the last year.

Aside from booze and ganja, the next most common drugs consumed were solvents, donkeyweed (local weed/bush) and tranquilizers, with 3-4% of kids admitting to having used these drugs in the last year. Almost 8% of kids said that they had sniffed glue or other solvents at some point in their life.

The survey found that the most commonly used drug is still alcohol, with 39% of kids saying they had used booze in the twelve months before the survey. The highest use was among students in grade 11 and 12, which includes young people who are legally old enough to drink, with 63% and 65% respectively saying they had consumed some alcohol in the last year. Less than 11% of kids in grade 7 admitted drinking in the previous 12 months and less than a quarter said they had ever had a drink in their lives.

The average age for taking the first drink, according to the NDC research, is 11.6 years with 37% of kids who drink saying they reported an “early onset” which means they had their first drink between the ages of 6 and 11 years.

A significantly worrying trend when it came to alcohol consumption is binge drinking, with indications that although less numbers of students on the whole are using booze, the ones that do are drinking more. Students reporting having had a drinking session where they consumed more than five drinks in one sitting in the two weeks prior to the survey had double compared to the 2006 research. 32.1% of students in 2010 admitted a binge drinking session compared to 15.2% in the last survey.

While overall alcohol use in Cayman was lower when compared to research conducted in Canada and the US, when it came to binging Cayman kids were drinking more heavily than their North American counterparts. While 5% of eighth graders in Canada admitting binging and 8% in the US, 22% of kids in 8th grade here in Cayman said they were binge drinking.

The majority of students who were drinking also said that alcohol was accessible, with almost 62% of all students saying it was “very easy to obtain”, which increased significantly to over 85% among 12th graders who reach their 18th birthdays that year.

The next most commonly used drug among young people, according to the NDC, was ganja, and although use has increased compared with the 2006 survey, more than 77% of kids said they had not consumed the drug in the year before the survey.

While slightly more girls than boys were using booze, the survey revealed that among kids smoking dope more boys are using the drug than girls in all grades. Ganja use also increases with grade level with almost a quarter of kids in 11th grade saying they had used the drug in the past year. However, just over 1% of kids aged between ten and eleven said they had consumed ganja in the twelve months before the survey was conducted and the average age for kids first using the drug was over 13 years old. However, around 18% of the kids that said they used ganja admitting have first used it before they were 11 years old.

Over a third of all students thought ganja was very easy to get and most said they got it from friends. Only one in ten kids said that students who had used ganja once or twice had any “great risk” from harm either physically or in other ways.

Compared to North America, Cayman kids’ use of ganja was considerably lower, and even among the highest using age groups, local student are using ganja half as often as kids in Canada.

Cayman Islands Student Drug Use (CISDUS) 2010 – MultiSubstance Use Brief

Cayman Islands Student Drug Use (CISDUS) 2010 – Ganja Brief

Cayman Islands Student Drug Use (CISDUS) 2010 – Drugs Brief Amended Feb2011

Cayman Islands Student Drug Use (CISDUS) 2010 – BingeDrinking Brief Amended Feb2011

Cayman Islands Student Drug Use (CISDUS) 2010 – Alcohol Brief

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  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    Wo – just another tragedy that will by out of sight by tomorrow when another discussion topic takes it place.

    So then, is this saying half of our kids Are regularly using drugs/alcohol?!



  3. Anonymous says:

    Quitters! The whole lot of them! I need a drink after reading that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Remember, there are no gangs, just groups.

    • Anonymous says:

      As an inner city high school teacher who has to pass out these type of surveys to my students I have to tell you that alot of students do not answer these truthfully. There are some who just answer "no" to every question and then there are the ones who just circle in "a" to every answer. There are also the ones who ask their friends what they put down. I would not put too much faith in the answers.

      I would also say that although there is alot of sex, alcohol and drug consumption in the high school age group there is also a huge section of students who are virgins and have never touched a cigarette or drank a sip of alcohol. More than one would think.

      There is also a large number of kids who are having sex, but really do not know what the heck they are doing. You should hear the questions I get asked!! (If you have sex in the morning, you can't get pregnant, right?…..stuff like that….and believe me, although silly, they are completely serious!!!!!!!!!!) Parents reading this…sit your child down and fill them in on the facts because believe me…they do NOT know them even if they act like they do!!

      As for the gangs…alot of them join them under false pretense. They think they will earn money, loyalty, respect, "family". The best advice I could give a parent is to teach them the difference between respect and fear. Gangs do not get respect although people may fear them! Kids who join gangs will not earn money…although the leader gets rich and they become the sucker. Loyalty…..when one of their gang members gets locked up…they will sing like a bird to the authorities to lesson a sentence…where's the loyalty then? Family? Family are the people at home that love them when they do good or bad …gang members turn on each other. Oh, and when did you ever hear of a retired gang member…they either end up in jail or dead. The only way to be sucessful is to work at it and that starts with a good education.

      That is my lesson for today. There are still many good kids out there. Statistically, I do not know the facts, but I do know that the more kids who have positive role models and who have the real facts…the less kids we have to bury.



  5. Anonymous says:

    What is it with denial in this country???

    The high schools are a mess with alcohol and drugs rampant. To be naive enough to accept a poll as accurate, no thinking adult would accept that as fact except maybe Lach who believes all polls as gospel.

    Alcohol and ganga are everywhere and god forbid that an abundance of crack get into the schools. Perhaps it is already there.

    For God's sake and the sake of your children wake up!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am afraid that such headlines may lull people into thinking all is good. Unfortunately,reallity is quite different and we need to pull our heads out of the sand and start facing the truth.

    One school recently put on an informative evening for parents to discuss issues teens face nowaday. Never mind that the attendance was appalling, but for the ones that were there (which included teachers, school management etc), it was and eye opener and huge shcok when it was revealed by various other parties (police, counselors etc) how much is going on in those schools. Depression, cutting, and drug use are rampant! Kidsengaging in sexual activity early on, bullying etc etc.

    Kids are not going to tell the truth when they participate in surveys admitting that they are doing something that is wrong! The sad part is that the schools continue to play it down and hush it up. It is the typical la, la, land approach in the Cayman Islands – all is great. The kids are alright!

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree with everything you wrote.  My daughter has told me many times about some kids who cut themselves, and about kids having sex in school.  It is a shame that Government thinks all will be fine with building new schools.  Our system is so backwards its a shame.  We have kids coming out of high school that can't read or write. 

      I have interviewed many of them and have to wonder how they made to graduation with the grammer they use and let us not hit the topic of the dress codes for which they come to interviews and to work.

      If a child tells a teacher about the kids who are doing wrong those kids in turn go after that child.  So everything is just hush hush.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As they are children I am sure they were not all honest.  I have a child that goes to one of the High Schools and from what I have heard and seen for myself, at least half the boys in the school are using drugs.  You have kids bringing rum to school in water bottles and if you ever go to the school on a lunch break there is never any teachers walking around the back of the schools watching the kids.


  8. Truth in practice says:

    I don't drink, smoke, swear or screw around either. 

    What the hell? Oh xxxx, I left my xxxxing smokes at the bar!  Tricksy, be a good little girl and pop down to the pub and see if there's a pack of Marly's on the bar beside some empty Red Stripes, and hurry back now!! 

    Tricksy… put some clothes on first, ok?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hard to see the good news after reading the whole article.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree – quite a misleading headline. We need people to recognize and address the drug issues in these islands!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Half of that survey was more likely false.    At that age, I lied about it too.   I dont drink, smoke nor do drugs.  But, at a very tender age, I drank alcohol and took a few puffs of cigarettes here and there.   Some people continue because it is cool or for other reasons, such as peer pressure.   Some like myself, just discontinue because it just doesnt appeal to them.   Thumbs up to those that actually haven't used any!

  11. Puff the Magic Iguana says:

    Just say "no".  Until college.  Then try everything at least once, and if it is good do it again!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow…and we wonder where the kids get it from. Thanks for clearing that up; they get it from adults like you.

      For the persons who took this as a joke and marked it thumbs up or "LOL," you won't be LOLing when this crap slaps you or your family in the face. I like a good laugh as much as the next guy, but everything is life is not a joke.