By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
CONSUMPTION of drug-laced substances like “sizzurp” and marijuana cookies is trending upward in schools, Dr Chaswell Hanna, Director of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat, said yesterday.
“We have had some reports so it’s not limited to any particular school whether it be public or private,” he said.
“It’s not limited to secondary or high school so we are going to continue to monitor this throughout this academic year and by the end of the year we’ll be able to put some trend data together and (publicize it).”
His comments came as the country prepares to mark the first annual National Drug Free Schools day on October 16th.
Students will be educated about the harmful impact of drugs.
One of the drugs trending in schools, Dr Hanna said yesterday, “is something called lean.”
“This is a mixture of cough syrup, local soft drinks such as Sprite and candies such as jolly rancher. Students are mixing this and they are getting high off of it and it’s becoming a trend in the schools. We trace it back to the US, some of the local rap stars have songs about it, they call it sizzurp, and they also call it purple drank.
Dr Hanna continued: “We don’t believe students know how dangerous this can be. Also (trending is) marijuana cookies. Last academic year, there was an incident in one of our local high schools where some students had to be rushed to the hospital for using this type of drug. What makes it dangerous is that when you mix marijuana with other elements or ingredients you don’t know the chemistry composition, what may be going on which might make it dangerous.”
Sizzurp can cause droopy eyes, slowed heart rate, loss of balance, drowsiness, memory problems, inconsistent bowel movements and dizziness, among other things.
Marijuana cookies could cause heart problems, paranoia, hallucinations, trouble concentrating and low sperm count, officials claim.
Dr Willard Barr, Director of Planning at the Ministry of Education, said officials would look to intervene in cases of suspected drug use or possession among students on campus.
He said: “The first concern we would have is intervention. That would be we have guidance councillors, police officers based at our schools and so parties would come together and I think that they would want to know is where is it coming from. Drugs is a crime, to have possession of drugs is a crime so we would want to know where these drugs are coming from so we could base the kind of decision (about the child’s future in the schools) on that.”
A 2011 Secondary School Drug Prevalence Survey revealed that 40 per cent of high school students were exposed to illegal drugs, usually by friends.
The survey said 28.2 per cent of all 12th grade boys tried marijuana at least once.
Male students were using the drug at more than double the rate of their female counterparts.
Recently, the Bahamas National Household Drug Prevalence Survey 2017 revealed that among men and women between 12-24, lifetime use prevalence for marijuana was 18.7 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively; 22 per cent and 9.9 per cent for men and women between the 25-44, and 19.4 per cent and four per cent for men and women between 45-65 years.
Use of other drugs were much less prevalent.
US Chargé d’Affaires Lisa Johnson said in July that the survey revealed young people in the Bahamas do not believe marijuana is a drug.