JAMAICA: Ganja Smoking Increases Among Motorists

(JamaicaGleaner) 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 a new survey, which stakeholders believe is putting people’s lives in extreme danger. Many admitted to using ganja, in light of the recent decriminalisation of two ounces.

Pointing to data in the recently released 2016 National Drug Prevalence Survey, Michael Tucker, executive director at the National Council on Drug Abuse, is expressing serious concerns with the findings.

“This is very troubling, as potentially these persons are not only a harm to themselves, but to other users of the road. Many times they might be carrying passengers, including children,” he told The Gleaner.

The survey was conducted to determine the prevalence and patterns of substance use among the population ages 12-65 years, as well as to measure other issues like access and availability of drugs, perception of risk of using various drugs, attitudes towards ganja decriminalisation, need for drug treatment because of problematic substance, among other issues.

In analysing the data, which were collected in April to July of 2016 among 4,623 persons residing in households across Jamaica, Tucker said that oftentimes vulnerable groups such as children are at great risk of losing their lives because they are among high-risk road users.

“When we look at those persons who operate minibuses and carry many people at the same time, that also can be worrying. We don’t want to raise any alarm on a particular group of persons, but if you look at the population, I would assume that a reasonable number of them (respondents) would have come from that group (bus drivers).”

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