‘New substances’ being abused by youths – participants of 5-day workshop told

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Psychologist, Ren Gonsalves engaging the participants of the programme

A recent intervention conducted in certain parts of the country by the Public Health Ministry has found that new substances are being abused by youths at an alarming rate.

With this in mind, the Public Health Ministry has embarked on an initiative to train persons to help young people stay away from these harmful substances.

Project Director at the Drug Demand Reduction Services arm of the Ministry, Sylvia Cort told the media earlier today (Monday), that are quite a lot of reports that “more young people are misusing substances and they are some new substances on the market that have not reached the ears of everyone; but there is an upsurge”.

In fact, she said there are reports of persons even “sniffing” gasoline. “We know they are misusing prescription drugs…they are misusing solvents, some young people are even sniffing gasoline so there is an upsurge. There is also an upsurge in them using ecstasy and there is a new one on the market, Malay I think is one”.

This new drug she noted is a “night club” substance which is generally added to drinks. Cort said it disturbs a person’s thought process, meaning that a drugged person will be unconscious of their actions. As a consequence, she appealed for party fanatics to not take sips of opened drinks from friends or acquaintances.

Earlier today, a five-day workshop was kicked off at the Red Cross Society, Eve leary, Georgetown, with representatives from the Social Protection Ministry, youth groups, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA) and several others who are involved directly in counselling youths.

The Project Director outlined the importance of this activity as she referred to youths as not only the future but a neglected group.

Further she noted that young people are often times pressured not only by their peers but at school, home and in their groups. These pressures she said may lead to them abusing substances for leisure or relief. The programme on the other hand will help leaders to recognize these issues faced by young people and address them swiftly.

Over the next few days, Psychologist, Ren Gonsalves of the Philippines will be engaging the participants.

A United States (US) State Department report has declared that while Guyana has a comprehensive drug demand reduction strategy, the use of drugs like marijuana and even cocaine is a growing problem.