Nottage Warns Of Rising Youth Addiction To Marijuana In The Bahamas

Former National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage.

Former National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage.


Tribune Staff Reporter


MORE youths are trying marijuana and becoming addicted to the substance, according to statistics compiled by the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (NADS).

National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage revealed the figures at the opening of an exhibition to commemorate International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at the Mall at Marathon on Friday.

Dr Nottage disclosed that statistical data compiled by NADS and the Detoxification Unit at the Sandliands Rehabilitation Centre suggest a steady rise in the number of people requiring needing treatment for substance abuse.

While insisting that local numbers are not on par with regional counterparts and other international countries, the Bain and Grants Town MP asserted that the government had not moved away from its belief that drug abuse is preventable and treatable.

According to statistics by the Bahamas Secondary Drug Prevalence Survey, marijuana has become the illicit drug of choice. Its use among school age minors, aged from 10 to 17, has increased.

Approximately 14 per cent of students tried marijuana in the last year and five per cent used marijuana in the past 30 days. Of that data bracket, those that tried marijuana continued using it regularly.

Dr Nottage said that cocaine and ecstasy use was less prevalent, but did not provide statistics to support that claim.

To date, the survey has been carried out nationally in 2002, 2008 and 2011. The next national survey will be carried out later this fall.

The government has, in recent years, increased the amount of programmes geared towards better monitoring substance behaviour among youth, Dr Nottage said. He indicated that this trend is alarming because drug use among minors often translates into addictions that carry over into adulthood.

According to Dr Nottage, trends observed of people seeking treatment for their addictions in the adult population show that alcohol abuse is the most prevalent, followed by marijuana. He said abuse of cocaine and ecstasy are less prevalent in comparison. He went on to note that there were a significant amount of ‘poly’ substance abusers, meaning that two or more drugs were used.

Statistics from the Detoxification Unit at Sandilands indicated that those seeking treatment in 2015 for alcohol made up just over 30 per cent of the total admissions. Marijuana abusers accounted for 14 per cent of admissions and cocaine abusers eight per cent. Poly drug users accounted for just over 40 per cent of total admissions for that period.

Recent statistics generated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime show that on global scale, almost 200 million people abuse marijuana, just over 170 million abuse cocaine and almost 180 million abuse ecstasy. Specifically in the Caribbean, South and Central America the rrespective figures are about nine million, almost three million and just over 18 million.

Moreover, in 2013, drug related deaths on a global scale accounted for over 200,000 lives lost.

In 2012 the last Ingraham administration launched the government’s National Anti Drug Strategy 2012-2016. The then Minister of National Security, Tommy Turnquest, said the plan would deal vigorously with the major challenges of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

At the time he noted that action would be taken on all fronts, including demand and supply, treatment and rehabilitation, the criminal justice system, law enforcement, legislation, research and public information.

Meanwhile, on Friday, Dr Nottage implored those in attendance and others that would eventual hear his message to do more to encourage those around them to “push back” against illicit drug use.

He underscored that a life often lost to drug and alcohol use is often lost for good. The Ministry of National Security’s NADS has taken a lead role in ensuring co-operation among government entities and NGOs.


stislez 4 years, 1 month ago

Instead labeling it a drug and doing statistics on addiction, yall stupid people need to do research on the medical side of marijuana. Do some research on the effects it has on cancer, on leukemia, on depression, on glaucoma etc. Use yall so called valuable time an resources to learn about a thing called CBD. Learn about effective and proper ways of using marijuana, vaporizing, suppository method, edibles, etc. Then, AND ONLY THEN, we can have a proper conversation about marijuana and statistics................P.S i have never seen or hear of someone dying from using marijuana...........


ThisIsOurs 4 years, 1 month ago

Medical benefits are all well and good, but I'd bet 1million that these children don't have cancer. The account here is all over the place and illogical, but if someone is going to sandilands for help "there's a problem". I didn't know you could get addicted to marijuana.


killemwitdakno 4 years, 1 month ago

Fine all drug abusers, reduce the prison population since you won't expand the jail. Keep the dealers who's gangs have a murder record.

Offer dispensary licenses in trade for dissolving gangs , giving info and cooperating with police.

State run exports. Restrict usage to cafes. The public shouldn't have to hang around silly people.


killemwitdakno 4 years, 1 month ago

We need better therapy and rehabilitation available in health services before decriminalizing weed.

More stats of drugs contributing to all these ridiculous car accidents. More stats of it's contribution to our high rate of births with congenital issues. A study on it's correlation to our D average, ect.

All of which must be on warning labels should marijuana products ever be sold.


croberts6969 4 years, 1 month ago

Please let our youth smoke marijuana. It will keep them mellow and at home eating Doritos.


ThisIsOurs 4 years, 1 month ago

We need sharp minds. I'd say marijuana is dangerous insomuch as it does exactly what you describe. It's like our entire male population is under attack, the ones that aren't being gunned down are having their brains neutralized and sitting at home all day eating doritos.

I think it's irresponsible when people send a message to children to say "look, it didn't do anything to me". No acknowledgement that chemicals affect different bodies differently, based on a whole range of criteria. ( same goes for all those irresponsible "drink this tea" statements by MLM health reps that are suddenly so popular in unregulated Nassau) What may cure you may kill someone else. I've heard several accounts of marijuana causing young men to "trip out". Bad stash? Maybe, but these kids don't travel with a marijuana testing kit.


SP 4 years, 1 month ago

2 weeks ago they were all for "keeping up with the rest of the world" what happened?

Old jackass dinosaurs still living way back in the past!

Those "youth" are large segment of a well informed electorate that will remove this "Taliban" from office.

The world has accepted that stopping marijuana is a total waste of time and resources only leading to incarceration and needless criminal records of otherwise non violent, law abiding citizens.

Countries are rapidly legalizing or decriminalizing medical or recreational marijuana for personal use instead, as people will never stop using it no matter what!


B.J. Nottage will NEVER convince anyone that he or this idiotic, backward government are more astute than the many professionals around the world on this subject.


Typically, they have turned a blind eye to any real progress not benefiting them personally, are needlessly destroying peoples lives, are entirely missing the boat capitalizing on medical marijuana production as Jamaica has, and need to be removed from governance of our country for gross stupidity and incompetence!


PastorTroy 4 years, 1 month ago

These leaders are a disgrace! Isn't he a doctor? It does not matter his field, whether is gynecology or heart surgeon am sure by now he should have something better to say about cannabis. Addicted? so what about all the alcohol and prescription drugs freely flowing in the Bahamas that's LITERALLY killing people and LITERALLY causing many sickness and death? This is really sad! Especially now that the TRUE racist reason why U.S President Nixon and his crew made cannabis illegal is all over the news and social media; not to mention the many health, social and financial benefits of legalizing cannabis is producing for states in the same country where he got his propaganda from. I don't believe Microsoft a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR will get involved in cannabis if those boogeyman ideology he believe in was true. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta who was once against cannabis legalization simply because he was protecting his medical license even apologized for his past anti-cannabis rhetoric. This is why the youth have no respect for these OLD DINOSAURS, when you know the truth its exasperating when you hear your 'leaders' talk like this. We're getting left behind, Jamaica legalized wheres the fire and brimstone?. All the Caribbean countries with a high concentration of people of color and black males (which was Nixon and his crew target to destroy) should be ashamed of themselves! I do not use ANY drugs, legal or not legal, however, as a citizen to ignore facts just to satisfy my own greed, lining my own pockets from anti-legalization capitalist like the alcohol and pharmaceutical lobbyist while my country and our youth continue to be disenfranchise, while, like the USA, growing a huge prison industry on the backs of our youth, for a harmless drug is next to treason. Young people, this is your future, YOU CAN MAKE CHANGE, use your votes as your weapon and get rid of all of them regardless of party colors!


TalRussell 4 years, 1 month ago

Comrades! Minister Dr. Bernard might be wise to have opened an exhibition to commemorate International Bahamalander's Day Against Abuse By "Doctor Prescribed" Prescription Drugs, which number more than the combined number of addicts who abuse cocaine and ecstasy and all street drugs combined?
Good Lord Almighty, doen't the minister not know about the ease of obtaining prescription painkillers, or the thousands abusing over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrup?
Has any government minister conducting undercover sting operations against our doctors and private and government medication prescribing discrepancies?
If not, why not?
Have any licenses ever been suspended or canceled?
Has any doctor or pharmacist ever been charged?
To pretend it is not happening is to close your eyes to the major contributors responsible for creating and supplying drug addicts?
Lawyers, doctors, judges, teachers, reporters, members clergy, policeman's, politicians, bankers and yes, even we grandma's are secret drug addicts - yet the average Joe's are the only ones our courts have decided to imprison?


sheeprunner12 4 years, 1 month ago

The PLP is a far worse drug than weed to this country ........... it is a national cancer


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 1 month ago

Someone please whisper in Nottage's one good ear that it's youth addiction to violent crime (murders, rapes, etc.) that we're all worried about! This goofy looking old useless fart really needs to be put out to pasture.


Sickened 4 years, 1 month ago

Gambling is a MUCH bigger problem in The Bahamas. These numbers shops are what's killing our country.

Now, if a marijuana dealer were to openly fund the PLP campaign then you would see marijuana legalized in a heart beat - even if the population votes 'No'.


sheeprunner12 4 years, 1 month ago

You are late to the party ......... SLOP was bank-rolled by the drug barons in the 1980s ................. marijuana is socially acceptable just like gambling today in The Bahamas


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