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NCDA targets shopkeepers to clamp down on drug abuse among minors

Published:Wednesday | November 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Illegal substances are too accessible to minors, says Collette Kirlew, director of client services at the National Council on Drug Abuse.

Shopkeepers and other retail vendors are among a number of stakeholders that Collette Kirlew, director of client services at the National Council on Drug Abuse, intends to target. Kirlew said that illegal substances are too accessible to minors and called for better enforcement in such instances.

Speaking with The Gleaner in recognition of Drug Awareness Month, Kirlew said that the agency was currently engaging the police to see what strategies could be implemented to enforce laws.

"We have a 'Community for Action Prevention Programme', and what we do is bring the stakeholders together and we talk about how we can protect the youth. We can talk to the shopkeepers, get them not to sell (substances) to minors," she declared.




"The data also shows that the products are available near schools. The school zone is supposed to be a protected space. So in a nutshell, we would love for there to be workable solutions that will restrict the access and the availability to minors and get the law enforcers to make sure that the school zone is protected," she continued.

Kirlew singled out Red Stripe and commended the company for its efforts in informing the public about drinking responsibly and pleaded with other companies to join in the fight.

"Red Stripe is doing a good job. I must bring them in and applaud them. What they have been doing, their 'drink right' campaign part of it, is to ensure that they ID persons buying alcohol to make sure that they are over 18," Kirlew said.

"I'm hoping that other alcohol companies will come on board and do their due diligence as well. Other companies may in fact be doing it, but it is not publicised. Overall, I'd like us all to be responsible. If you're selling something that is targeting adults, then educate your retailers or distributors about how to responsibly sell that product."