Consultation On Options To Reduce Drug Abuse

March 15, 2018

The Ministry of Social Development and Sports, through the Department for National Drug Control [DNDC], is currently drafting a Green Paper to seek ways to reduce drug abuse and increase rehabilitation in Bermuda.

The Ministry said, “The Green Paper was highlighted as an area of priority for Government in the 2017 Speech from the Throne: Despite the severity of Bermuda’s penalties for illicit drug use, they apparently fail to deter criminal behavior.

“Given that the behavior is driven by addiction, punishments tend to be ineffective. Consequently, the Government has a duty to seek ways to reduce drug abuse and increase rehabilitation. The Government will publish a Green Paper for consultation to review Bermuda’s drug policies to discuss options to reduce drug abuse.

“This Green Paper will fulfill Government’s commitment to evaluating Bermuda’s drug policy with the overall emphasis of reducing substance abuse. It is anticipated to be completed by July 2018.

“Policy makers will be provided information related to drug control infrastructure; the drug situation in Bermuda; public perception on substance misuse and abuse; policy and legislative framework; and areas of priority.”

“For an approach to be effective and lead to a solution for drug-abuse related problems, it needs to be comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and well-balanced,” said the Minister of Social Development and Sports Michael Weeks. “Such an approach must be based on robust nationwide and inter-agency collaboration at all levels.

“This Paper represents an important step forward in addressing the challenges presented to us concerning substance misuse and abuse in Bermuda. The Green Paper, along with other publications of the DNDC, will provide a clear body of evidence that speaks to the way forward for drug control in Bermuda.

“I invite members of the public to be a part of the process, ask questions and, most of all support the DNDC as we continue to enhance the health and safety of Bermuda’s residents.”

The Ministry added, “Information-gathering on the public’s perception of substance misuse and abuse has already begun and is anticipated to conclude on April 20th. During this time, the DNDC will hold one-on-one meetings with community and sports groups, government officials and many other individuals.

“At the same time, various focus groups will be running that will engage young people, people who are in recovery from substance abuse, families and friends of people that have experienced addiction, and also people who are currently battling substance abuse addiction.

“The Department will soon be launching a survey on public perceptions toward substance misuse and abuse, using standardized questions. This survey will collect information on public concerns related to substance misuse/abuse, drug availability, law enforcement and policy, as well as substance use prevention and treatment.

“The survey will collect information from a scientifically selected, nationally representative, random sample of 400 adult residents in Bermuda, 16 years or older, who volunteer to participate. Trained, experienced, and professional interviewers will be calling households to gather responses to the questionnaire via telephone interviews over the period of March 21st-28th.

“Selecting a random subset of the population will allow for the results to be very representative of the population in Bermuda and is more scientifically rigorous then convenience sampling which is when people are selected based on ease of access.

“Anyone wishing to share their opinion on reducing substance abuse and increasing rehabilitation is invited to email the Department for National Drug Control at or call 292-3049 between now and April 20th.”

The DNDC serves as the lead government body responsible for the planning, drafting, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of appropriate drug strategies as indicated in the National Drug Control Master Plan.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Paradise Reclaimed says:

    Prohibition is the single largest cause of our drug problems today. End the war on drugs, and treat drug use as the health issue it is, rather than a law enforcement burden. Prohibition fails because no government can control or regulate what is illegal, yet in demand. Look to the countries who have found success, it’s always been achieved through methods counter to prohibition.

    I believe the earliest recorded example of failed prohibition involved Adam and Eve, and an apple in a garden . . .

    • sage says:

      Well if our ‘leaders’ don’t know this to be true by now, when will they ever wake up? Or is it that no one wants to upset the status quo? It is hard to believe this folly has continued for so long until you realize how many peoples lives are made comfy tilting at windmills.

  2. Kim Smith says:

    Even with limited experience, I understand that the issue of drug abuse is a complex one requiring enlightened solutions. I have been moved by some of the work of Dr. Gabor Mate, a Canadian addictions expert who explains that “the origins of addiction as being rooted in trauma, and calls for a more compassionate approach toward the addict.”

    If his theory is correct, and much about it makes sense, my question is whether our society is compassionate enough to support such an approach?

    • sage says:

      We are compassionate towards pharmaceutical, cigarette and liquor addicts so why not?

  3. Real Deal says:

    Reduce Drug Abuse is not a good target at this time. solving Drug Abuse is not something that can be signaled out and solved. you pull on that string in the bag and you will be pulling up a hole pile of other strings attached to it that have to be untalented first or the same time.

    I think a better string to work on first is obesity if you fix that and a lot of other problems will be fixed at the same time by default

    I have idea to fix obesity but if you try to tackle drug abuse your wasting time and money.

    and lets say drug abuse is magically fixed with out fixing the underlining factors what are the benefits?