The Substance Abuse Advisory Council Secretariat (SAACS) is concerned over the use of cannabis by young Saint Lucians, who underestimate the harm it may cause.
The secretariat’s Programme Officer, Caleb Paul, voiced the concern during an appearance on the National Television Network (NTN) on Tuesday to mark World Drug Day.
Pointing to a global report which showed an increase in cannabis use around the world in the past decade, Paul indicated that even in Saint Lucia people are moving towards using cannabis.
“Especially young persons, because the perception of harm – we have seen it decrease,” he disclosed.
“So persons who thought cannabis was harmful now they realise or they are thinking that this thing is not so harmful,” Paul told NTN.
He noted that in the region, some countries have passed laws to decriminalise or legalise marijuana and open up cannabis industries.
“But we realise as that information is being shared, it disarms especially young persons – that’s whom we really care about,” the SAACS official asserted.
Paul observed that with any substance, especially psychoactive ones that interfere with the brain and how it functions, can have very serious impacts on young people.
“I believe everyone who uses a substance, it would affect them differently but we must be honest in sharing out information and saying that even cannabis has an effect on young brains and young persons,” he declared.
“This is not a free for all for young persons to feel that they can use whatever amount of cannabis they want,” Paul stated.