July 17, 2019

More than 1,300 Cayman Islands’ students participated in the 2nd annual International Day against Drug Abuse


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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) continues to lead the global campaign to raise awareness about the major challenge that illicit drugs represent to society as a whole, and especially to the young. The Cayman Islands joined the global community in commemorating the World Drug Day through hosting island-wide school marches leading up to and on the 26th of June 2017.
This years’ theme is “Listen First: Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe, reducing risk behaviors and drug use”. The goal of the campaign is to mobilise support and inspire people to act against drug use by raising global awareness which sparked the efforts of a group of John Gray High School students last year. A student elected committee along with the department organised the 1st Anti-Drug March incorporating the Art, Music and Media departments which brought that unique feel to the day’s event. “The School Based Drug Education Programme is offered through the school’s course and in 2016 a group of year 10 and 11 students were inspired to bring awareness to the campaign through a whole school march” stated Mr. Simon Miller, Prevention Specialist.
The expansion of this year’s event meant that approximately 5 High Schools and 8 Primary Schools participated which allowed for a true community effort. “Last year’s march was extremely successful so naturally we extended the offer for all high schools to participate in the second annual drug march and mini conference, and would support any primary school who also wished to participate” stated Mrs. Brenda Watson, Programme Manager. Some of the positive outcomes of taking part in prevention programmes and campaigns include better school performance, less risky social behaviors, less substance abuse and less violent behaviors.
The National Drug Council (NDC) along with the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Community Footprints Organisation, other non-profit organisations, government, the private sector and volunteers, became involved in the 2nd annual drug march through:
 School based drug prevention sessions and assemblies focusing on the theme
 Involving students in varying activities that allowed for the students to create banners, flags, posters and crowns that depict meaningful and impactful messages
 An island-wide student led anti-drug march
 Mini-conference encompassing presentations on the impact of drugs
According to the 2016 Cayman Islands Student Drug Use Survey conducted among grades 7-12, about 75% of students indicated that their parents have talked to them about the importance of not using drugs and alcohol. The results also showed that of the students who choose not to use alcohol and drugs they identified their parents as having the most influence in their decision to remain drug free. “We have to acknowledge the significant and influential role that our parents have in helping their children grow happy and learn to cope well in difficult life situations” stated Dr. , Prevention and Information Officer. Spending just a small amount of time each day by giving your child your undivided attention through talking about the importance of avoiding alcohol and drugs as well as asking questions and listening attentively are some first steps.
The NDC run Parents as Preventers programme is designed and aimed at helping parents to recognize and understand the effectiveness of active listening, talking and setting clear rules and reasonable consequences. The free sessions are available to parents of children of varying ages and can be run through our offices or school PTA’s. For more information please call the NDC at Tel. 949-9000 or e-mail: info@ndc.ky or visit us at www.ndc.ky .
The NDC would like to thank all of its sponsors, partners and volunteers for their generous support.
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