Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Tufton concerned about drug drivers

Published:Wednesday | January 18, 2017 | 1:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

Admitting that there is a lingering issue surrounding drug abuse in Jamaica, Dr Christopher Tufton, minister of health, has called for a rigorous sensitisation among citizens about the Dangerous Drugs Act.

The minister was responding to yesterday's Gleaner lead story which revealed that one in six males admitted to driving under the influence of some sort of dangerous substance, while one in 17 females did the same, according to findings in the 2016 National Drug Prevalence Survey, which stakeholders believe is putting people's lives in extreme danger. Decriminalisation of two ounces of ganja has also elevated its use.

Tufton indicated that it was imperative that measures be put in place to educate youths, especially, about the effects of substance abuse.

"What we are actually saying is that we support the move for Jamaica to create a niche for itself and to position itself in a global industry for controlled production, controlled use, through processing and branding from medicinal value for marijuana. We fully support that thrust because there is evidence to say that there are benefits there," he said.

"Where the concerns exist is on the recreational use (of ganja) and abuse based on the impressions that it is a free-for-all, and based on the blurred lines between consumption for medicinal versus recreational use. I think the law needs to follow through and we are worried for what could happen later on, if our young people are impacted by that impression and abuse the products, as is now being evidenced."

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com