When Caribbean leaders meet again in Trinidad for their summit on crime, drug use among youth will be high on the agenda.
The leaders pointed to an increase use of substance abuse in their respective countries, which Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley is describing as part of “a broader societal problem”.
She noted the increase use of lean in her country among the youth.
Lean originated in the United States, and is a concoction of cough syrup, hard candy and soda. It can also cause seizures and addiction.
“This is perhaps one of the worst things that is happening throughout the region. It’s one of the negative things that they have taken up from, as we would say, over and away,” she said.
The Barbados Prime Minister also stressed that authorities need to work with parents in the region so they can recognise and address the threats to their children’s stability.
As regional leaders consider possible solutions, Mottley pointed to the example of Bermuda, which adopted a home-grown, multi-sectoral approach to reducing criminal activity among young people.
“It’s one that picks up those children who are being put out of school at 16 instead of leaving them on the street; one that looks at those families who are falling through the cracks; one that teaches our children how to be able to resolve conflict without wanting to resort to violence to be able to do so,” she said.