The Government and a non-governmental organisation (NGO) have teamed up this week in a training programme to help tackle drug misuse among the nation’s adolescent population.
The Drug Demand Reduction Services, an arm within the Health Sciences Education department of the Public Health Ministry, launched the five-day “Training of Trainers Workshop” under the theme “Connected with the Youth Sector in Drug Prevention and Drug Demand”.
The workshop is geared at sharpening the skills of public sector and NGO employees working with adolescents and youths addicted to illicit drugs and other psychotropic substances.
Some 30 participants selected from the Ministry of Social Protection (MOSP); Ministry of Education MOE); Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP); the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) and the Salvation Army are participating in the training scheme.
Director of the MOPH Drug Demand Services, Sylvia Cort, said the training is follow-up to a similar effort done in 2017. Cort said this time the training will provide “in-depth insight and guidance” in the curriculum.
“We recognise the need to train persons to work with adolescents and youths who may be using or are addicted to substances that may result in negative behavior patterns,” Ms Cort stated.
Meanwhile, Ren Gonzales, President and Psychologist of the Guyana Psychological Association said the training focuses on drug prevention among youths and its insight will allow participants to broaden their knowledge on various life skills useful to help reduce drug use among adolescents.
“It is important that facilitators administer knowledge, attitudes, values and the necessary skills required among adolescence, to encourage better alternatives to the use of (illegal) drugs”, Gonzales said.
During the training programme, Gonzales stressed the importance of facilitators developing counseling techniques and skills based on physiological theories.
MOPH Health Promotion Officer, Tashia James said the 2017 training is bearing fruit.
“Part One of the training enabled me to test the skills and knowledge I have gained hence it is my belief that the continuation will allow beneficiaries to examine the specific needs of adolescent population,” James said.
Participants who benefited from part one of the Drug Demand Reduction training stated that they were able to use the acquired skills and knowledge to work with adolescence, meeting them at their point of need.
The five day training is continuing at the Guyana Red Cross Association headquarters in Kingston, Georgetown and will examine such issues as the introduction to skills and drug prevention and rehabilitation; incorporating knowledge, attitudes and skills among facilitators; and counseling techniques and skills, with special focus on gender, parenting, media and peer education.