Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter
Jamaica College students lament adults' neglect in protecting children against drug use, abuse
A group of students from Jamaica College have declared that adults are failing their children miserably, contributing to the high rate of drug use among youths.
During a Youth Editors' Forum hosted by The Gleaner yesterday at the Jamaica College auditorium in St Andrew, school captain Gavin Samuels said adults were expected to prepare the younger generation for the future, but the activities some are involved in would instead make them bad influences on their children.
Samuels lamented the use of drugs by youths, saying it was a dangerous activity which requires serious intervention.
"It is very dangerous, especially in light of other problems which are more serious like strange relationships with parents, lack of role models in the homes and the fact that in many cases parents are the ones who introduced the drugs to the children either by getting them directly involved or by the children seeing them using these drugs and feeling comfortable to use them as well," he argued.
Samuels further stated: "The fact that there is such an alarming increase in the number of persons doing this, the persons who are setting the example for them must be blamed. If persons are not taken out of situations where their parents are smoking, there is a very high possibility that they will end up conforming."
More to be done
Mario McFarlane, first vice-captain of the institution, said much more could be done in relation to how parents support their children, especially when they reach the adolescent stage.
"Parents need to play a more supporting role in their children's lives, especially at adolescence where it is mostly needed. At this stage, they tend to be influenced easily by their peers and other persons in their communities, so the parents need to place more emphasis on helping their children at this stage," he said.
Zebe Williams, who was a member of the audience at the forum, agreed that parents were not doing their part to curb the growing problem.
"Drug abuse is a social problem and, in our society, we see where the family has failed and children live what they learn, so if they do not have the right role models as children, they are going to go astray and then that is where peer pressure really takes hold of them," Williams said. "So if Jamaica wants to progress and fight out drug abuse and all other social problems, we need to build up Jamaican families because that is the root of everything right now."
But with parents being encouraged by the youths to play a more active role in their children's lives, Jevaughn Bryan, vice-president of the Inter-School Christian Fellowship, said parents should outline the consequences of using drugs to their children rather than simply ordering them to stop.
"If we want to tackle drug abuse, we can't beat a child to do something that you want them to do, they are not going to do it. But what you have to do is put down on the table the consequences of doing drugs and it will help," he said.