~ Ministry ECYS joins forces with Leo Club for Drug and Alcohol Awareness Campaign ~
PHILIPSBURG – The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) in collaboration with the St. Maarten Leo Club have joined forces in a quest to tackle the drugs and alcohol abuse by the youth.
Both parties have been exposed to the dangers and this matter is an ongoing problem with a root in the community, which cannot be solved if the matter is not tackled collaboratively.
Drug and alcohol use/abuse by the youth is a serious matter that must be addressed urgently. Secondary schools are no longer the only level of education that deals with these cases. Since January 2017, the Inspectorate has been approached by management of primary schools to deal with a number of cases of drug use/abuse. Children who use either alcohol or drugs are a risk to themselves and other students around them. Under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, these students either skip classes/are truant, act out, display discipline problems resulting in getting suspended or expelled from school. In some cases drugs are being shared and or sold on school premises.
The main stakeholders identified in this project are the Leo Club and the Ministry ECYS. The Inspectorate of ECY, the Department of Youth Affairs, and Student Support Services Division will be the stakeholders representing the Ministry ECYS. Other stakeholders will be approached once subprojects have been identified. The slogan and theme identified for the campaign was created by members of the Leo Club. The slogan is: “The best me is drug free, the greatest me is alcohol free.”
The first meeting with stakeholders will be on Monday, March 20, at 6:30pm at the Lion’s Den. The purpose of that meeting is to introduce the project to the relevant stakeholders and seek their cooperation in the quest to collaborate to tackle drugs and alcohol use/abuse among the youth.
“We need to start curbing the drug and alcohol usage/abuse among our youth, as it deters the development of their growing brains and negatively affects their development and behavior. Many youth are not aware of the dangers they pose to themselves or their peers while under the influence. We, as a community must also show a united front, and set the examples for our youth to follow,” Minister of ECYS Silveria Jacobs said.
The first awareness campaign will be initiated during Carnival season, as during the season the accessibility to the drugs and alcohol will become more prominent and heightened. The joint awareness collaboration will have a timespan of three years. Although the campaign will be initiated during the Carnival season, the awareness campaign will continue year round.
Persons or organizations interested in joining/supporting this campaign can contact Elmora Aventurin-Pantophlet at the Department of Youth Affairs at 542-2056.