Drug abuse prevention programme targets more schools

Drug awareness alcohol prevention educator at Crossroads, Clephane Roberts.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Officials at The Crossroads Centre, a residential drug and alcohol abuse treatment facility, plan to step up efforts to reduce or prevent drug and alcohol abuse in Antigua & Barbuda through a school-based drug eradication project.

The programme, dubbed Breaking the Cycle (BTC), is currently in operation at most of the country’s primary schools.

With 57 schools already covered, drug awareness alcohol prevention educator at Crossroads, Clephane Roberts, said the institution would be working to include the five primary schools still without the BTC programme.

“We have to reach those five schools and then it would mean we would have covered all the nation’s primary schools, both private and public, primarily third graders,” Roberts said.

He noted that primary schools are targeted essentially because it has been proven to be a better place to begin equipping the youth with the tools to resist substance abuse.

Through the BTC programme, he said, students would develop several very important skills so that they identify alternatives and have that competence to choose the more empowering alternative.

“It teaches decision-making skills, includes peer resistance training, uses trained teachers, interactive teaching methods, effective content and delivery and targets students prior to onset of drug use, teaches drug harm and a range of other things,” he further noted.

The programme began 11 years and four months ago and is funded by the Mill Reef Fund.

It is taught in Antigua in a classroom setting for five weeks, and for one week in the Holy Trinity Primary School on the sister island.

The classes include sessions on drug and alcohol awareness and prevention while emphasis is placed on self-awareness, positive relationships and decision-making skills, among other things.

The “Breaking the Cycle” programme is based on the Project Charlie programme, which originated out of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1976 and has been adapted and modernised to address unique aspects of the Antigua & Barbuda culture.

It was first implemented here in 2001 and received support from the Ministry of Education, which continues to work along with the institution and facilitators.

Crossroad Centre was founded by legendary musician Eric Clapton.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)

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