De La Haye, Winston
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Community Health and Psychiatry
Community-Based Prevention of Substance Abuse
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
Substance abuse is pervasive in a number of countries throughout the world, placing an enormous burden and strain on their health care systems. The relationship between crime and illicit drug use increases the significance of the problem facing countries worldwide. Jamaica has not only become a trans-shipment point for cocaine from South America, but recent Drug Enforcement Agency figures show Jamaica being responsible for 30% of cocaine trafficking into the United States of America. Though all segments of society are involved, disadvantaged groups are disproportionately affected. Substance use and abuse among adolescents is of particular concern. Supply reduction approaches have not been effective enough in reducing the prevalence of substance use and abuse in many countries throughout the world. Substance abuse prevention research over 25 years has led to the identification of a number of factors differentiating substance abusers from others. The presence of risk factors and the absence of protective facts contribute to an increased potential for drug abuse. The impact that these factors have is also determined by the level of psychological and social development of an individual. The presence of risk factors as well as the absence of protective factors leads to increased 'exposure opportunity', exposure to a potential substance of abuse being closely associated with the potential for initial drug use, transition from initiation to regular use and subsequently dependence. One method of reducing 'exposure opportunity' is community prevention. The basic aim of community prevention programmes is to decrease the rate of drug use in a population by enhancing protective factors and reversing or reducing risk factors.....