Health Minister, Hon. Julius Timothy recently stated that marijuana-smoking among young people has become a serious problem in Dominica. He attributed the use of marijuana to some youth’s disregard for authority.
Hon. Timothy’s belief is that some adults have allowed young people to believe that smoking marijuana is acceptable; however the drug is in fact a gateway drug. A gateway drug is a drug that opens the door to the use of other, harder drugs. Gateway drugs are typically inexpensive and readily available.
The Minister says, “One of the major challenges we have is drugs and particularly marijuana. A lot of it stems from us adults. We made young people believe that marijuana is okay. A study on Caribbean islands was conducted not too long ago and we found out that Dominicans smoke the least cigarettes, which is great but our youths smoke the most marijuana.”
The health minister highlighted the term marijuana psychosis and further explained its meaning. Marijuana or cannabis psychosis can cause drug-induced psychosis, trigger the first episode of a psychotic illness or make a pre-existing psychotic illness worse. According to Minister Timothy, most cases at the Princess Margaret Hospital’s Psychiatric Unit are a result of the use of marijuana.
The Health Minister further noted that it is the responsibility of adults now to re-educate the youth of the dangers of drugs, specifically marijuana.
The Minister also said the successes of artists who glorify marijuana should not be considered more highly than the accomplishments of those artists who do not.
“We have to get our youths to understand that marijuana is not okay, not because Bob Marley and a few Rastas started it and made themselves into superstars does not make it okay. More people without locks, without smoking marijuana have made it to the top. We must find a way to emphasize that to our youth.”
Hon. Timothy believes the incidence of marijuana-smoking needs to be reduced in order to effectively work toward a better society.