Young people using a wide variety of drugs
The types of drugs that young people consume in Bermuda is directly linked to exposure they have via home or community life, gang involvement, or through drug dealing.
This is according to Camily Lovell, an internationally certified alcohol and drug counsellor at Pathways Bermuda who spoke at a community forum.
The event on Sunday brought together community partners Raleigh Bermuda, Pathways Bermuda and the Bermuda Police Service, and addressed issues such as violence and antisocial behaviour among Bermuda’s young people, grooming methods used by gangs to recruit, and drugs that are being used.
Ms Lovell said: “What they have exposure to really speaks to the environment that they're currently in – their access is a result of their environments and resources.”
Some of the most commonly used substances Pathways is aware of include alcohol, marijuana, experimental use of ecstasy/MDMA and psychedelic mushrooms, Ms Lovell said.
“Also, not uncommon is the sporadic use of stimulants – more specifically, cocaine used in marijuana cigarettes. Cocaine and heroin use are not self-reported as commonly as other substances.
“However, that is not an indication that these substances are not being accessed and used.”
The forum, titled Drugs, Gangs and Corner Boys. Is my Child Being Recruited? included presentations by Dany Pen as well as Pc Khalid Pitcher of the police Gang Targeting Unit and Ms Lovell.
Ms Lovell said that drug use in young people has “an intensely wide range of impact”.
She added: “Most notably is the social impact depending on what the substance use has them engaged in. There can be a lot of personal validation or affirmation found through substance access or use by peers.
“Mental health has also been notably impacted by substance use during adolescent years. Increased or exacerbated instances of mood disorders and concerns about early onset or progression into psychotic disorders have been noted.
“Continuing to destigmatise the need for mental health support, and what general help and support looks like, is key. We have to continue to break barriers and increase access to support services for youth.”