Its #WorldDrugDay #theevidenceisclear #teamncsa

National Council on Substance Abuse World Drug Day Message
The theme for International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking better known as World Drug Day is “The evidence is clear: invest in prevention”.
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, is celebrated on 26 June every year, recognizes the global effort to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse. According to the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), ‘this year’s World Drug Day campaign recognizes that effective drug policies must be rooted in science, research, full respect for human rights, compassion, and a deep understanding of the social, economic, and health implications of drug use’.
Locally, the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA), as the authority for Drug Demand Reduction for years been advocating for best practice to drug demand reduction programming. This approach speaks to evidence-based drug demand reduction programmes, which, when applied to drug demand reduction, this refers to the use of scientific results to inform interventions decisions.
‘All interventions are well intentioned but not all interventions are equally effective. Today more than ever, we need to ensure we invest in what works and disinvest in what does not. To achieve this, we need not only a common understanding of the evidence base for effectiveness but also guidelines to inform the delivery of high-quality local services. It is based on these principles that the NCSA has adopted, since 2007, the model “From Research; to Policy; To Programming”, a policy encouraged by the InterAmerican Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean Statesation of American States (OAS/CICAD); through all countries of this Hemisphere.
In this regard, the NCSA has made a considerable effort to increase our local research with a view of using the findings from the research to inform policies and programmes in a society that is not known traditionally for research driven activities. Our research projects include Barbados Drug Information Network Report (BARDIN) which provides an update on the local drug situation yearly, National Secondary School Survey, Workplace Survey, Synthetic and other Emerging Drugs in Barbados, and “Barriers to Substance Abuse Treatment in Barbados: Factors Hindering Women’s Use of Treatment Services” to name a few. The Council can boast that the findings from these research projects are being used to develop evidence-based intervention across all communities with varying levels of success. However, we will not rest on our laurels and continue to lobby the government of the day, the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to partner with the NCSA to provide timely and current data to assist with our research projects.
Such research also provides for our policy makers with information in respect of treatment costs for persons impacted by drug use. The Barbados Drug Information Network BARDIN, (2020) Report which states, ‘incarceration was $32,000 per inmate per year (Ellis, 2020) and 89 inmates were incarcerated for drug offences in 2020. Therefore, the annual cost for incarceration for all drug offenders in 2020 is approximately $2,848,000.00.’ The report continued that, ‘the Substance Abuse Foundation had 110 clients in 2020. The approximate cost of this primary treatment is $15,030.00 per client which resulted in a total of $1,653,300.00 for care of 110 clients. The government assumes approximately $9450.00 of the $15,030.00 for each client. Therefore, the government spends $1,039,500.00 for 110 clients.’ These figures are sobering, especially if we recognize that persons in treatment as a result of drug use, represent only a small percentage of those who actually need to make use of these services. The NCSA will expand on our pilot study “Barriers to Substance Abuse Treatment in Barbados: Factors Hindering Women’s Use of Treatment Services” as we focus on this sometimes-hidden population.
Our BARDIN Reports in recent years has also highlighted the fact that our local drug situation is slowly diversifying with New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) entering our market and this was confirmed with the discovery of MDMA, Methamphetamine and Synthetic Cannabinoids on island last year. The NCSA was able to be ahead of the curve by having drug education sessions developed to speak to NPS before the discovery of the substances on island.
The facts are clear for all to see, the investment in research to inform policies and programmes can lead to fewer persons being negatively impacted by substance use and misuse related issues. For every US$1 invested in treatment the costs of drug-related crime, criminal justice costs and theft are reduced by US$4-$7. When health-care savings are added in, total estimated savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12 to 1. (UNODC).
Drug addiction produces serious, pervasive, and expensive social problems. Regardless of whether substance abuse is a sin, a crime, a bad habit or an illness, society has a right to expect that an effective public policy or approach to the “drug abuse problem” will reduce drug-related crime, unemployment, family dysfunction and disproportionate use of medical care.
The NCSA remains committed to giving you the facts and letting you make the choice. If you or someone you know needs help with substance, use or need additional information about a drug, feel free to contact us at the National Council on Substance Abuse at telephone (246) 535-6272 or visit our website at