Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Proper Monitoring Needed For Private Parties

Published:Saturday | January 14, 2017 | 1:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Michael Tucker

The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) has said that there is urgent need for adults to be more vigilant when hosting private house parties in order to ensure that children are not exposed to any form of drug.

Michael Tucker, head of the agency, in an interview with The Gleaner, made reference to a recent survey, which the organisation did, that showed that there continues to be a lingering problem among the youth population as 70 per cent have admitted that they have used some sort of substance at least once, while more than 50 per cent note that they have used it frequently.

He called for there to be a renewed focus on monitoring drug usage at both public and private events but stressed the need for extra vigilance to be given to what occurs at private events.

"Persons who have parties at their homes and make alcohol available to youngsters also can be charged, especially if after the youngster is given the alcohol, a problem occurs. A lot of people don't know, but even in your home, you make those things available to young people, whether its alcohol and even tobacco. There should be legal consequences," he said.

"There are the large-scale parties that you are aware of, but what has got popular are the house parties. You find that there is little or no control over what happens in that environment, so people will have a paid party at their home, where these things are available to people, generally, but more so, young people, and then there is nothing that is monitored and everything is done in excess," he continued.

He also emphasised that the challenges faced as an agency are compounded by the fact that there is little or no enforcement in stamping out underage drinking.

 

Failure to enforce law against underage drinking, big challenge for NCDA

 

"The biggest challenge we have as an agency is that while we are doing a lot of prevention work and education initiatives, there is a serious lack of enforcement of laws against underage drinking. It is one of the biggest challenges we have.

"If you do the prevention and education without enforcement, there is little or no effect. What you need are two sides of the coin working together. So you need some sort of consequence for persons who sell alcohol to the youngsters. They can be charged up to $1 million under the Child Care and Protection Act, and that needs to be enforced," Tucker said.

Kamal Bankay, an entertainment practitioner, admits that there should be equal levels of monitoring at both private and public events.

"In the privacy of one's home, they (children) should be guided by their parents as to what is right and wrong. That's the first thing. They are the persons charged with monitoring underage drinking whether at their home or someone else's," he said.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com