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Government of Jamaica



Ten new specialised health centres for the National Council on Drug Abuse are to be built in selected communities across the island, thanks to an $11.8-million donation from the National Health Fund.

“The grant will be used to establish 10 new clinics in selected communities to teach both life and parenting skills to adolescents and parents, hold family and group therapy sessions, develop the competencies of existing counsellors and institutional strengthening of NGOs/CBOs that will host these clinics, and increase awareness of common problems related to substance use and abuse and addiction through the dissemination of information,” NHF said in a release yesterday.

“The comprehensive community- based approach to the care and treatment of substance abusers and their families to be implemented under this project is expected to be more effective than institutionalisation of substance abusers in reducing the burden of this disease.”

The NHF said communities that have been selected for the specialised clinics have little or no treatment and care facility in close proximity or that is affordable to the mostly vulnerable in these communities.

At the same time, the release also stated that Michael Tucker, executive director of the National Council on Drug Abuse, expressed his gratitude commenting that the donation will go a long way.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to facilitate a comprehensive approach to treatment and care to individuals and families at the community level,” he said. “We anticipate far-reaching results and a long-lasting impact from the services that will be offered to members in several communities islandwide.”

Addiction has been identified as a chronic, relapsing illness or disease with very specific characteristics that include compulsive drug-seeking and use. The NHF said experience has shown that the public pays a high price for untreated drug abuse, mainly through the direct and indirect costs of ongoing crime to finance substance abuse habit. It said an analytic study carried out on clients brought before the drug court indicated that 32.6 per cent of these drug abusers committed simple larceny offences to support their drug habit.

Meanwhile, the NHF provides grants for improvements in health services, access to medical treatment and preventive care for the resident population of Jamaica and this project is in keeping with the NHF’s mandate which is to reduce the burden on the Jamaican health care system

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