Good afternoon (or evening) to everyone.
It is my great pleasure, honour and privilege, on behalf of our family here at NCSA – that is, our Directors, Management, Staff and Volunteers, to welcome you all to this virtual presentation in Barbados for the release of the findings from our National Primary School Survey 2020. We thank each of you for joining us. Your doing so is appreciated by our NCSA family.
I wish specifically to thank you, Minster Abrahams, for joining us today in person. Since becoming our Minister in late-July 2020, you have shown a keen interest in, and support for the NCSA’s work. This is much appreciated. Your inspirational messages to young people since becoming our Minister (and I’ve heard three of them so far under NCSA’s umbrella) have been enthusiastically received.
The first of nine listed functions in the NCSA Act, is for the Council to “advise the Minister on measures for the eradication or control of substance abuse”. The NCSA is in its twenty-sixth year of doing this, along with the work related to that.
The fourth listed function in the Act, is to “authorise, conduct and facilitate research or surveys on substance abuse.” Following its appointment in August 2018, the NCSA’s Board of Directors insisted upon this fourth function being prioritised. We requested more accurate, up-to-date and evidenced-based information on substance abuse, and any developing trends in Barbados. Establishing what was happening with our youth – not only in schools, but also in our communities and the workplace, is important. Only then can NCSA encourage appropriate substance abuse policy initiatives to be developed by Government for the benefit of Barbadians.
NCSA has fulfilled these two vital functions. In July 2020, some of you joined us in this format when we presented findings from our 2017 and 2018 Barbados Drug Information Network (BARDIN) Reports.
Today, we go one step further by releasing the findings from our National Primary School Survey 2020. Our Manager will later offer, on the NCSA’s behalf, sincere thanks to individuals and organisations without whose assistance and cooperation in conceptualising, leading, collecting and analysing the material gathered, the findings of this Survey would not have been possible.
But there is more to come! The NCSA has initiated preparations to undertake a National Secondary School Survey in Barbados. That research will hopefully be conducted in early 2021 and so, by next summer, the findings will be known, at which time we might meet on another occasion such as this.
As I’ve previously stated, successfully tackling the drug-related challenges in Barbados remain a multi-sectoral challenge. Through research, we can enhance our understanding of the substance abuse problem we are dealing with. Therefore, we must continue to be willing to share information, deepen our linkages, and further strengthen inter-agency collaboration. Such co-operation is important to any future success we hope to achieve in the fight against substance abuse. I believe that if we can sustain a collaborative approach on fighting drug use and its mis-use, not only in Barbados, but across the Caribbean and further afield, then the capacity to produce additionally current surveys, based on evidence-based information gained from research, will certainly benefit our societies going forward.
The ongoing tight financial situation due to COVID-19 has forced NCSA to ramp up its fundraising efforts, so do not be surprised if you hear us seeking your assistance – financial or in kind, in the near future. Contributions, large or small, are welcomed by NCSA from reputable local and/or overseas individuals, businesses or organisations. I include international agencies in the latter. We thank those in advance who might respond to the NCSA’s call for support in due course.
Again, welcome one and all for joining us. Please stay safe. Thank you.