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‘Keep away’ from drugs, alcohol


‘Keep away’ from drugs, alcohol

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This was the clarion call from chairman of the Centre for Counselling Addition Support Alternatives (CASA), Orlando Jones.

In an interview with the SUNDAY SUN, Jones urged Barbadians to avoid abusing drugs and alcohol.

Admitting he knew this would be difficult given the time of the year, he made a call for people to be ‘strong’ against the vices, especially those who were struggling with addiction.

“Now I know that is difficult at Christmas, because everybody is partying and everybody is drinking, so we are looking at both children and obviously adults. For those who can, abstinence is still the best way,” he said.

Family physician Dr Colin Alert, in an interview, said people tended to overindulge during the holidays and he cautioned that this could lead to severe illness.

“Every year there are tons of people who end up with bad stomachs from eating too much,” he said.

“They vomit and they have ulcer-like symptoms. Overeating and overdrinking likely make high blood pressure worse, likely make diabetes worse, it likely makes cholesterol worse and these are the things that kill most people around here.”

In the spirit of the overindulgence, which seemed to be inherent around the Christmas season, Jones cautioned Barbadians, especially younger people, to be even more cautious when partying.

“When you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol you can become prone to perhaps doing things that you wouldn’t normally do, like become sexually active and you put yourself at risk to all sorts of diseases or what have you,” he cautioned.

“We particularly would want to stress that adolescents should basically stay away from alcohol and drugs; and parents and families should not encourage them to use any inordinate amount of alcohol and certainly not illegal drugs”.

The two health professionals also cited loneliness that may negatively impact the normally festive time, was loneliness.

Alert explained that there was a condition called ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (SAD) which he said could push people into drinking more than they normally would.

Jones revealed that loneliness was a problem at Christmas, especially if people were cut off from their families and friends. This, he said, could lead them to using more alcohol, and possibly going on social media to feel better.

He said social media could help people to get over the idea of being alone around this time.

“Sometimes people are isolated from families for whatever reason and they use whatever mechanisms they can in order to at least get some feeling of being a part of something. Social media helps that along the way,” he said.

Jones cautioned Barbadians to avoid high-risk situations, as loneliness could increase a person’s vulnerability of engaging in unhealthy activities.

“If you are a person who has diabetes and liver problems and that sort of stuff, your best bet is to go down the road of abstinence. We recommend abstinence wherever possible. we know it’s difficult, but strength of character and willpower helps tremendously for young persons to remain abstinent,” he said.